The Man Who Teaches MAG

By Veronica R., San Antonio, TX

     the man who teaches

the short class at Math Camp

he talks

like a FOB - someone fresh off the boat.

ruddy, his face, a baggy sweater, he wears

not a coat. polyester shorts, not denim

his body taut


it across the room like a translucent

mauve flag

(I know not to mess with

China’s flag, but he is not what

I saw in Disneyworld)


was on China’s IMO team! then why is he here?

our susurration, why not at Harvard?


wears glasses with gold rims

like my grandma’s


in study group (after playing

bull’s eye with chalk) we imitate his sounds.

he muddles words how queerly

his mouth swells when

it makes the letter “l” so it sounds like “r”

he talks like my mother and father

and like me more than

the cool Asians, though I cloak myself

in a blunt red flag with

beautiful speckles.

we have it easy,

we do not compete with

Chinese children for a spot in his class. we are children Chinese

and otherwise

our knowledge grew out

of a hemic ground and blasted forth

like a typhoon, breaking the life

we had before America

into easy-to-digest bits

of satire.

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