Taking my order by phone, she asks me
What do you look like? So I can find you?

Except that’s not how she says it. Dropping
words the way my Korean mother did,

still making herself understood, she waits
while I decide. Pausing, as I do, as

I have done since the first time someone asked
me with genuine interest what are you?

I answer this woman in a way I
know already she will never accept,

take the chance I never take. Yes, she says,
I think I know you. Spotting her just as

she comes through the door, I wait for her to
scan the room, find me and then decide. She

approaches, tosses bags on the table,
mouths the word I know she’s thinking, the word

I’ve heard a dozen times. Hapa. It is
the one my mother hated, the reason

I was grown before she took me home to
meet her people. I see her stiff face, black

eyes of resentment at their turned backs, their
conditional love. Now I speak the truth

of who I am, or at least half of who
I am. This woman receives from me a

broad smile. I thank her, watch her go knowing
half a truth is better than any lie.