The Girl at the Asian Grocer

Art by Jasmin Small.

$5.90 pork wontons, a jar of XO sauce and a pouch of roasted sunflower seeds.

I gently laid them on the counter.


She barked at me in English,

not a second of hesitation,

like the arms that pushed me into this vat of cold, white 


leftover from The Block houses.


The Chinese girl behind the counter writhed

at the sight of my tattered Air Force 1s

as if they were screaming.


The security TV was screaming

on behalf of each aisle,

flinching as I scrambled past.


A Pokémon in a Bratz world.

Or a Bratz in a Pokémon world?

A corruption of culture, identity, and everything her mum had ever told her that girls like us should look like. 


Maybe I’m dramatic.

I feel like how the sun must feel in skyscraper smog. 


Maybe that’s dramatic.

The sun is not suffocating.

It’s shining somewhere?


Maybe I’m an alien,

the Asian girl at the Asian grocer

who looks like she should’ve gone to Coles.  




Originally published in Woroni Vol. 72 Issue 4 ‘Alien’


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We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which Woroni, Woroni Radio and Woroni TV are created, edited, published, printed and distributed. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. We acknowledge that the name Woroni was taken from the Wadi Wadi Nation without permission, and we are striving to do better for future reconciliation.