“Half Irish, half Chinese”
the worst lie I’ve ever told, nineteen years old and I learnt to write my name last week.
A taxi driver looks at me:
“You’re an exotic little flower that needs to be minded.” I shrink away, too drunk tired
to argue, but not to forget.
Hong Kong was mentioned in school, once, for an essay on pollution ruining lungs.
My mother said no one would hire an Ng, so we added Clarke.
“What’s your real name?”
Ping is a sound. Ng has no vowels. “Where are you really from?” Wicklow isn’t enough. Enniskerry?
I hated photos of myself laughing,
eyes squinted the way kids would pull theirs back.
A lecturer shakes, cackling as he says the word “chink” I blink and think and am
too slow to react, too scared to react—
all the anger will pour out of me,
teeth bared but I was crying.
Here I sit, split, writing in a language that is not mine.
Slanted eyes, bulbous nose, flat face. What do you see? Is it beautiful? Is it me?
By Choy-Ping Clarke-Ng