Ellen Zhang

Fam Med. 2023;55(4):268-268.

DOI: 10.22454/FamMed.2023.599240

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After “The Chart” by Rafael Campo


of this new hospital admission
begins with eighty-three-year-old Asian
female—it could be my grandmother,
who taught me the tongue of her
mothers while teaching me to make
beef noodle soup; or it could be the
Korean lady, back home at the H-mart who
updates me on the freshest fruits, never
forgets to slip me guava candy;
if not the Taiwanese woman who runs the
dim sum place, yells if you don’t pay cash or
stick chopsticks in your rice bowel, wears
jade pendants and swears
on her life that they bring her luck; it could
also be the Hmong women
who smokes during her lunch breaks
between alleyways, always with the
most beautiful and intricate nails,
pink, she tells you, is her favorite color;
slightly paler hue than the nails of the
Vietnamese lady down the block
whose worry lines her eyes, noticeable
despite the cream she dabs between pauses
in conversations; and when the attending
asks me what language I speak, not
Cantonese or Korean or Vietnamese, and
only Mandarin, I feel some deep hot shame
swell up from inside, swallowing me,
reducing me to nothing but a label.

Lead Author

Ellen Zhang

Affiliations: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Corresponding Author

Ellen Zhang

Correspondence: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


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