Nothing gives me more hope
than spicy cabbage—

with a bowl of steaming
wheat noodles in front of me,
I can finally be—

my Filipina mother didn’t eat
ramen growing up, or like
kimchi, but my picture of Asia
was painted in America—

as an American, I can choose
from curated Eastern symbols—
Ghibli, kung fu, & K-pop—
I learn from the weeaboos
& down-low fetishists—

I’m the most Filipinx version
of myself with white friends
in a Japanese-style ramen shop—
Filipinx, not Filipino,
not because of my non-binary
identity but because x marks me
as Anglo, barely yellow—

& the truth—I don’t become
anything by eating kimchi,
no metamorphosis,
my face still a question—