Grace Zong

American Identity Poem   

In-between: The missing me

“America is a place where dreams come true”
“America is a place where everyone gets equal opportunity”
“We moved to America for you to have a better future”
“You will be successful if you work hard!”
“So you must work hard, you must work hard!”
My parents voice echoes in my mind with every point I lose

My identity is like that missing sock after a load of laundry
Lonely, separated, and forgotten
I never felt like I  am “American”

Brilliant dreams come true here
People turned nothing into something here
Miracles happen every day here
America is great
But why do I care?
I never feel like I belong

13 is a tough age for everyone
“Wow! Good for you, you are moving to the The City!!”
As my friend called it
But 13 was that awkward age
In-between childhood and adulthood
For me also,
In-between China and America
Watching my homeland getting smaller and farther away from me
It felt like leaving something behind

Leaving the “Chinese part” of me behind
The childhood friendships,
The abandoned Chinese traditions
But does that mean the “American part” of  me will come?
I don’t know

I never felt like I am “American”

I feel I’m straddling the fence
Living in between two worlds, two cultures, two identities…
Living in between… Two versions of me


About the author: Grace Zong, the 17 years old author of this poem, was born in China and moved to the US with her parents when she was 13. She has no previous publication. She loves horseback riding and Physics and would love to become a doctor when she grows up. She writes: "I wrote this poem last year as a high school sophomore for an English assignment. Now looking back at it, I feel it expresses the sophomore me very well. I was lost, didn't know what I wanted to do in the future and my parents were constantly giving me pressure, like most Asian/Chinese parents. I didn't like the poem when I wrote it, but now that I've gotten over that stage of being lost, I suddenly understood why I didn't like it: it was so true and real and told my story. "