Kat Liu (circa 2000)

The exact slight has been forgotten,

its distinctions blurring into the long stream of unintentional insults

I’ve experienced before and since.

Maybe someone asked me what country I’m from.

Maybe someone assumed I'd be good at math.


What I do remember, what still hangs raw, is mentioning it to you, afterwards,

… just in passing,

sharing a small annoyance with a friend.

And you were supposed to be my friend.


“Oh, I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way.”


I am surprised by the response.  Maybe you just didn’t hear me, didn’t understand.

So I try to explain to you why I know exactly how she meant it.  

How after hearing things like that dozens of times one starts to recognize a pattern.

Still you resist, so still I persist,

Needing you to understand me.


“You’re making too big a deal out of it.  Don’t be so sensitive.”


No, you’re the one making this into a big deal. What had been an irritation by a passing acquaintance has become a betrayal by a trusted friend.  

And you were supposed to be my friend.

If there was any doubt to be had, you should have given the benefit of it to me.  

Even if you couldn’t see what I was pointing to, you should have trusted that I wouldn’t just make stuff up.  

After all, that’s what friends do. But instead you defended a complete stranger over me.

… and one has to wonder why.


So now I know that there are some things that I can’t talk about with you.  

Now, I have to ask myself, is this topic safe with you?

Now, a wall rises up between me, and you.


And you were supposed to be my friend.


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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative