In Hawai‘i, my Korean half dominates my look, so I blend
in with the majority, no one can even tell I’m Hapa, half White.
In Madison I was suddenly a minority, there to study
English literature. English is my native language.
In Madison, those dirty looks, the sing-song comments,
sometimes it was as if I spoke another language,
foreign, strange, another tongue unknown to anyone.
My Uber driver is from India, a UW student.
After 35 years, I’ve returned to Madison.
I recount my race-based interactions, and he says he believes
it’s worse now, how he can hardly wait to graduate, go home.
I love Madison, it’s a second home for me, I go back once a year now.
I’ll never forget the friendships I made there, the good times there,
and that I’m an Asian there.