You think you know who we are

Are we the kind of people you think we are: law-abiding,
peace-loving, generally not rocking the boat, wanting the same
kinds of opportunities afforded others, speaking such perfect
English learned on the way here— Aren’t we more than lumpia-
and-pancit-eating, more than karaoke-mic-wielding, more
than are-you-a-nurse or are-you-a-doctor, are-you-a-mail-order-
bride or the wife of the Oklahoma bomber; more than the crazy
boxer or the woman with three thousand pairs of shoes; more than
the madman’s boast of how he can rape and kill or cause to be killed
outside of the law; more than the Italian designer’s killer, more
than the maids in Hong Kong who sleep on a makeshift pallet
wedged between refrigerator and stove— Aren’t we the islands
you ceded then annexed after a staged war; that you ordered
turned into a howling wilderness, tamed, then plundered?

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