Sunday, September 09, 2007

little american

At the beach, the small child—
She's no more than eight—
Smears white sticky sunblock
Onto her porcelain face.

Carefully drawn, Japanese eyes
Peer through the make-up
Like a little Geisha.

Tight Jewish curls topple
Down from the top of her head
Like a little child clown.

Is this what it is to be American?
To have a Jewish father, a Japanese mother,
To vacation at the seaside on Cape Cod,
And put sunblock on when the sun gets too hot?

Later, I look over and see the girl
Placidly pasting shapes into a paper sailboat
While the father sits nearby
Cutting them out for her with sharp scissors.


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