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What are you, they ask with their eyes
and — the bolder — with their mouths:
Egyptian? Spanish? Mexican? Italian?

I smile and nod, accepting the lies
gleefully: becoming a kaleidoscope
of identities

hiding my name because it is
a giveaway, taking on
personas as an explorer

digests landscapes
hungrily, wondering
which one will ink
like a tattoo and
which slough off
like snake

They narrow their gaze
furrow their brows
in confusion
in a desperate need to understand

where I stand
amidst my friends, my lovers,
my chosen family

It’s so hard, they complain,
I never know who’s who

I smile
I nod
I’m me, I’d like to respond,
but don’t


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