- I Sing to Myself While Driving to Indianapolis Airport
My choir teacher said I was an alto, meaning I can’t scale cathedral ceilings with a whistle register like Mariah. Forget notes
only dogs can hear, I was never meant to pop a lung belting ballads with Whitney bombast. I sing in my car with its broken CD player.
When crossing county lines and cornfields, the radio’s no use with its static and blurring of country, pop, and rap. When I sing along
to the divas, I am glittering onstage, serenading my unrequited, or I am the star of my own music video, men chasing after me
in rainy streets but never catching up. On this trip, I am trying to perfect “Part of Your World,” the mermaid’s wish
to be human. I remember the summer before fourth grade when I heard that song for the first time. Even then I said,
“I sing just like Ariel!” There is always desire to be someone else, everywhere else.
I want to be part of a world where dress size doesn’t dictate the stares of strangers, where leisure and slowness are not dirty words.
I want more . . . to be where the people are. I don’t want to be with people who make me belly flop on rocks, who make me feel [End Page 11]
like a porcupine in a tutu. I sing the song of wanting to transcend history when I sat zippered lip in class,
and couldn’t measure up to the calculus geniuses who shared my black hair, but not my size 18 waist. [End Page 12]
Lisa Kwong is an AppalAsian writer in the Midwest, where she currently teaches Asian American Studies and English at Indiana University in Bloomington and coordinates the Fountain Square Poetry Series. Her poems and creative nonfiction are forthcoming or have appeared in Best New Poets 2014, Banango Street, Still: The Journal, Naugatuck River Review, Appalachian Heritage, Pluck!, The Sleuth, and other journals.