The Sweater at the Back of My Closet

Looking in the mirror, nine years old, 

Almond eyes blink.

And I hate them, wishing they were bigger. 

Shiny dark hair, smooth honey skin 

In a world full of blonde curls and blue eyes. 


Words come to my ears: 

"Look, an Asian with her rice!" 

"Why are your eyes so small?" 

"All Asians look the same!"

And now I bring sandwiches to school. 


My heritage is like an old sweater: 

Not used, not worn, pushed to the back of my closet. 

When asked about it, I shove it further away

And hope that one day I will wake up white. 


Nineteen years old, looking in the mirror, 

Same eyes, same skin, same face. 

I still hear the comments and I still feel the shame, 

Hot, burning shame that makes my heart clench. 


But I fix my hair, my dark, straight, shiny hair

And I smile, my brown eyes becoming smaller. 

I take out the old sweater from the back of the closet. 

I put it on, and admire how I look -

Because I am Vietnamese and I stand tall. 


This poem is about: 


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741