Self-Portrait With & Without

With dried cranberries. Without a driver’s license. With my mother’s
mother’s worry. Without, till recently, my father’s glasses. With an A in English,
a C in chemistry. With my mother saying, You have to be three times better
than the white kids, at everything.
Without a dog or cat. With a fish.
With a fish I talked to before bed, telling him my ideas for new kinds
of candy. With a tutor in Mandarin. With the 1986 low-budget live-action
TV version of Journey to the West. With Monkey King’s quest for redemption,
Buddhism through monster-of-the-week battle sequences. With thinking
I’ve grown up now because I regularly check the news in the morning.

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