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Orange Chicken

What are you? they probe; queries like cold instruments

But I find no words to describe the mixing of my blood,

This body that seems no more Chinese than a fortune cookie

My mama despises what she calls American Chinese food

She prohibits the consumption of orange chicken;

Calling out its inauthenticity—but what does that make me?

A meager, diluted adaptation of Chinese?

I’m more than cream cheese swathed in a wonton wrapper

Or am I? Because somewhere down the line

My ancestors sacrificed cuisine authenticity

For the taste buds and wallets of white Americans

And I wonder if I am any better, if my being is that sacrifice?

Poem: MADDIE SCHUMACHER is an oldest sibling, a recent college graduate, and a person passionate about communities. They are a queer and nonbinary Chinese person who found home in Saint Paul while attending Macalester College. They hope to pursue policymaking to reduce racial disparities and allow families to thrive. You can find them drinking tea in the morning or dancing in the evening.

Art: LEAH BEDFORD paints intuitively from the heart. Her work authentically expresses her feelings and captures her emotions. Her paintings are colorful and full of texture and movement.


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