Breakfast: A Cultural Appropriation

8 a.m. Tom Kah Thai Coconut soup
A breakfast pleasure I feel guilty over
Because I’m a white American

I swallow
Warmth descends, waking me from the inside

Between spoonfuls, I remove chunks of galangal and lemongrass from the hot liquid
Remembering the first time when
I chopped the lemongrass as fine as a chive garnish

I didn’t know lemongrass was like bay leaves
A plant that gives its essence freely, but shouldn’t be consumed

That time, I’d tried to save the soup
Painstakingly fishing out tiny bits of sharp stem
But they were still there, invisible to me

Until I swallowed and they stabbed
Making their presence known from the inside

Now I know better
I leave the lemongrass in easily identifiable chunks
And I still make and eat the soup
Me: A white American

I listen to the news while I slurp, thinking
Do I want to be woke?


Testing the Waters

Hello! I’m Maya from Northern Colorado. This is my first time participating and I am going to be in the Morning Half Marathon group. I mostly write fiction, but have always kept a few poems going here and there and occasionally get to my town’s Poetry Slam although everyone is very kind and so there isn’t much “slam” and rather just lots of support. I hope to get a good performance stash going from the results of this challenge.