"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
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.