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Disposable

By Sandra Salinas Newton

How did you survive my stupidity?

I was fifteen and brash

The world was mine

I thought

And you were nothing more

Than a hindrance:

The albatross of Coleridge

Hanging unbearably from

My scrawny neck.

You were the voice of

Broken English

The face of slanty eyes

The stature of skinny short men

Who amounted to no more than

Laundrymen, kitchen help, laborers:

The disposables.


I was the promise of America

The young, smart, innocent

Whose world was endless

And oh-so-simple:

Success only awaited my arrival.

Anxious to go

I learned to disown you

Walk before you as if

As if I were your ma’am

To snicker at your foreign ways

And even

To lay scorn upon you

Like clouds trying to smother the blue sky.


But there comes wind and rain

To chase the clouds

To cleanse the sky

And thus did time teach me

That you were the promise of America

For me.