Growing up, I hear whispers
but no one         will tell me to my face
        I never wonder until I'm older why I'm seven
before I'm taken to church to be baptized 
The house always smells
              like fried onions and garlic and oil 
and when I come home from school
there's a plate of rice       with chopped
hot dog pieces      Mama T and Mommy S put
in front of me alongside a glass       of Orange
Fanta       When I don't remember how to spell
remember I cry        all afternoon
        because it made me lose the spelling bee
My prima Jean wants to use       my new set of 64
crayons with a sharpener    built into the box
      When I don't let her she stomps her feet
and hisses      in my face       You're adopted anyway
I'm confused sometimes        about why I must call
my aunt       Mama T and my mother        Mommy S
They love        each other so much one of them
takes her and her whole family to live with us
         because she couldn't bear
the sight of her           undiapered babies
crawling on the rude          stone floor of a hut
    When her children grow up they get
the clothes I've outgrown    and I know I shouldn't
           but I feel like I've been displaced
When the other goes back to school
            she decides washing dishes or clothes
will give her hands tremors and that 
                 isn't good for all the writing
she now has to do            working for a degree
     From one I learn    how to measure the water
           for rice          And from the other
how to make the cursive for capital 
      T and F        One is like a boat
with a fringed canopy            The other
            looks the same only it has
a rudder for steering at one end     I wonder
      can one travel farther    than the other

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