Identity Height Chart
By Anglea Acosta
She didn’t know there were words
for all the peoples she descended from,
always took care to fill out the scantron sheet
to select the right (white) demographic bubbles,
not like when she accidentally picked “multiracial”,
facing an examination not of numbers
but of the teacher’s questions.
She just wants to be herself,
to look like herself and her ancestors
in the mirror: dark hair and light skin,
practicing the Spanish pronunciation
of her apellido, a name brought over countries
and generations that she said in English
for the first twenty years of her life.
Everyone has names for
everything that she is not.
Cuban, South Asian, Pakistani,
Middle Eastern, Jewish, half-Japanese,
dissecting her features, her identity because her presence
makes them feel confused.
She didn’t grow tall,
she grew into herself,
no longer stating percentages like a venn diagram
when they just want her to say the word “Mexican”.
She doesn’t want a hyphen, she wants multitudes,
she doesn’t want to waver between spaces
in ways all the questioners don’t have to.
She just wants to create a home
miles from the places her family came from,
to stop answering questions from people
believing in single stories and American myths.
She just wants to finally know,
she’s reached the top of the height chart,
a proud Latina woman.