Leona Sevick

Chink

In the fourth grade Billy Morton calls me a chink and I think at first it’s because he sees my mother sitting quietly in the last row behind all the other mothers on back-to-school night (her black ink hair falling down to her waist like a curtain closed to everyone whenever she bends her head), but Billy Morton is always watching Kung Fu and even though David Carradine doesn’t look Chinese and isn’t supposed to people call him “Chinaman” or “chink” and Billy Morton wants to try it out on his own tongue, to push it forward with his breath to feel how it tastes leaving his mouth, and I love words too so I say you’re a chink and his face folds in on itself and he starts to cry and Sister Regina grabs me by the arm and pulls me out of the room where she points her long witch-bone at me and asks all blue in the face Do you know what that means? and I say no though I know what it means it means I can make you cry any time I want.

Leona Sevick has published poems in Barrow Street, The Florida Review, Slipstream, Tar River Poetry, and other journals. Her first chapbook, Damaged Little Creatures, was published in 2015 by FutureCycle Press. She is an associate provost and associate professor of English at Mount St. Mary's University. Her website is www.leonasevick.com.
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