United States



July 10, 2017


"Your mama must be a doctor
and your papa must be a doctor
    they probably work work work
They probably never have fun."

"Do they hit you at home?"
"Do they scold you about grades?"
"Do they get mad when you don't have straight A's?"

"Mama and Papa must tell you to sit home and study all day
    they probably yell at you to go pray"
"Mama and Papa probably make you mop the floor
    Isn't that what all Indian girls do?"
"Study and clean and get straight A's"

"You're pretty for an Indian girl"
"You don't act like the other Indian girls, you're pretty cool"

"Does you house smell like curry?
    I've heard Indian homes do"
"You write poetry?
    That's so not you!"

Mama is a doctor
    and a cook
    and a cleaner
    and a mama
and Papa is a doctor
    and a gardner
    and a driving instructor
    and a home improvement enthusiast
Mama and Papa are not just doctors.

Mamas voice in the kitchen as she cooks
    her soft humming to classical Bollywood tunes
Papa gardens in the front yard
    His tulips are in full bloom

Well I don't have the straight A's
and I don't get slapped for not doing the laundry
and I broom sometimes to get the dust out of the way
but it'd be rude to say
    that all I do is study and clean and  get straight A's

Call me pretty go ahead, but I'm not a different pretty cause I'm Indian
    am I?
Call me cool go ahead, but why for an Indian girl
    are desi girls usually not cool
My house doesnt smell like curry
    Not all indian homes do 
And yes I write poetry
    What do you do?

you make a judgement from far away
"That must be what it's like to be her"
"She has no life"
"She is no fun"
"Her parents are so strict"
"I'd lose my mind if I were her"

but you can't do that.
because you don't know. 
You don't know about me
about who I am
about where my mama and papa come from.

You don't know their story
You don't know mine.

You could be my best friend
    the girl that makes small talk with me at school
    the boy standing on line with me at Starbucks
    the stranger sitting next to me on the train.

You're the ones that don't know that you do it
The ones oblivious to your constant microagressions.
That is who you are.

So I know me 
But do you know you?


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