in fifth grade she stumbled in;
traded calligraphic characters,
ink and brush,
for foreign-sounding syllables,
exchanging L’s and R’s
like she could trade her accent for respect.
changed her name to something more
didn’t know that
her name wasn’t the only foreign thing about her.
fast forward years and lives and loves later.
she still stumbles,
but questions nothing.
she is told to make speeches,
writes the sentences herself,
recites words from memory;
asks for my help,
but she does not need it.
she does not need to sound perfect
to have something to say.