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In the dream my mother is a window.
Her glass reflects my young faced father
drinking Coca Cola beneath the summer sun.
I pull up a chair, eat popcorn at the cinema
where the movie family is honey skinned
and buys chamomile in their yogurt.
When my father first came to the states
he ate KFC three days a week, a luxury
he relished in until the doctor noted
his cholesterol. When my cousin in China
asks me what America is like I think culture
is a funny thing. My mother tells stories
about the first time she encountered
canned bread a la Pillsbury and overt
extroversion. Her white friends find this
delightful. Canned bread! Extroversion!
Their teeth gleam like fresh caviar.
My cousin wants to talk about Beyonce
and I am embarrassed when I have little
to say. What do you like he tries again
and I think of landscape, the early fog
ridden hills of San Francisco when eucalyptus
unfurl like children waking to the light.
Watching the trees, I say, and reading.
He looks disappointed so I think
of the most American thing I do—
I’m learning to be at peace with the spiders.
It’s one of the harder things I’ve had to do.

Kara Kai Wang is a Chinese American poet based out of San Francisco. Her work appears in Indiana Review, TriQuarterly, The Adroit Journal, Ninth Letter, Four Way Review, and others. She has received residencies from MacDowell Colony and Vermont Studio Center. A graduate of University of Oregon’s MFA program, she is currently studying medicine at UCSF.

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