POEM: “Asian”

Poet Jin Yan, reading today in State College.
Poet Jin Yan, reading today in State College.

“Asian”
for Jin Yan

unafraid to peel back
the paper-thin layers
of protection she’s built
because people have
ideas about “Asians”

as if that word could cover
the billions of people
it’s used to describe
as if a single word can cover
anyone, ever

we laugh where she means
us to laugh, and we shake
our heads when she points
out the ignorance of others
(never our own, of course)

she doesn’t have to represent
anyone but herself
but because she’s brave
she chooses to make herself
universal, so we can see

it’s an unusual courage
the way she tells us all
what it’s like to be stared at
making us stare at her
while she tells us

/ / /

Jason Crane
3 April 2015
Oak Street

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