An Editor Says Can You Put More Foreign Words in Your Poems

At a reading, a white man says you write just
like this other brown girl poet I know,
do you know her? I don’t. I do,

she is me, I am her, we stand on a stage
and sob and at the end everyone claps
and says we’re strong. She rides home

on the subway and considers the news.
Then, in front of her apartment, she cries
about her immigrant parents, then plants

a tree native to her country. That’s the story
you like, isn’t it? I’ll give you this. In my most
evolved form, when I’m angry, it’s only

the pretty kind. I’m never caught
without makeup, a grateful smile, a quote
from the other poet of color you read

this year. At a reading, a white woman says
you only write about heritage. I want to say, no,
I write about kitchens better than church, secret

glances, hyphens, but instead I blush. I am grateful
to be here. I am grateful to be heard. And they love me,
or they say they do. I don a white dress and fly

through the market, screaming a poem. At the end
of the reading, I say thank you, thank you,
for correcting my armor. Thank you, for slicing

my speech into only sobs. All this time,
I’ve written my ache for you.
All this time, I have been yours.