Ting Wei

Juliana Chang

Mommy, what is
                                                     Ting Wei?
媽媽 , 什麼是

they put you on my green card
when I was six months old,
immigration officer squinting as
mother repeated over and over 庭瑋,
                                     her name is              .
it’s nearly five o’clock and
he’s tired too, scrawls down whatever
he thinks he hears
in pen, signs the form.

you are the first correction I make
on the first day of every class.
when they ask for you at the bank
or at the airport, I edit you
asterisked, unrecognizable.

are you the distorted English
of the immigrant American,
or the broken Mandarin
of the tainted Taiwanese?
are you both,
am I both,
are you the transliteration of
what I turned out to be?

if I asked you, would you even know
it was you
I was calling?