Heath Hyun Houghton

Outside in America: identity

i’m not sure what it is to be asian in america.
                                                  am i afraid?
                                                                            (they murdered vincent chin)
of a virus racing through humanity?
                                         i have an asian face
are we humane?
                                                                           (they humiliated danny chen)
we don’t protect the least among us.
                                                                                                  (oh hae min lee)
colonialism isn’t past.
it is our reality.
                                        i have an asian body
we are enslaved under an economic banner
that supersedes humanity.
                                      am i a model minority?
if i venture out
will i be beaten for being gay?
                                                                     (they tortured matthew shepard)
or not white?
                                                                               (they desecrated henry lew)
will i make it home?
                                       a perpetual foreigner?
to the illusions of safety,
                                            am i american?
of succor,
                                              was i ever?
of warmth?
                                                                                      (goodbye adam crasper)
so am i afraid?
                                          i am. have been.

(Published in The Pitkin Review, Spring 2021.)

0-10HEATH HYUN HOUGHTON is a Korean American adoptee. He is a writer, actor and director, currently living in Portland, OR.


Link to Table of Contents.