Rice Queens

I learn about Rice Queens in the passenger side of an Alaskan Subaru / told that some would
crack / their spines to pick at the paddy fields of my forearms / eat scorching mochi before it ever
set / and cup lukewarm sake in their wrinkled palms / as an offering to my granite lips. When / I
said nothing / he filled the awkward space with / an acapella rendition of Scissor Sisters. / I
wanted to say then that / I was not an effigy made of rice papier-mâché / but he was too loud to
hear me / whisper.

In Korea, there is a practice / to widen the eyes by cutting / the folds of the eyelids. / I imagine
these women / feel they are removing / their accents as well. / Performing the colonization that
Britain never could / and marking themselves with a single cardinal direction. So, when / I
discover there is a / white man who’s had surgery to look Asian / I consider if it is best / to sip
the alcohol from their hands and pretend / they are not stealing / the grains from under my chin.

Maxwell Suzuki is a Japanese American writer who recently graduated from USC and lives in Los Angeles. Maxwell’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in AH Chic, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and The Woven Tale Press. He is currently writing a novel on the generational disconnect of Japanese American immigrants and their children.