The Revenge of the Flan~~Poetry

They look me over

all conversation stops as I enter the room.

refusing to meet my eyes

they surmise

she’s different than us

cluck cluck tsk tsk

she can’t even speak Japanese

don’t serve her any green tea.

A very quiet crowd (I think)

I make small talk desperately

they answer reluctantly —

all in Japanese

what does she eat

they sniff and snoop

what is in her bento box

no steamed white rice, no pickled plums

what kind of girl is this

who brings lunch in a paper bag?

Weeks pass by its always the same

the silence is choking my air

so today I plan to bring my sweet flan

to soften their scaly hides.

As I stand outside the luncheon door

the laughter, the sharing, the laughter

are they talking about me?

her husband is Puerto Rican, Reiko says

she smells of garlic and black beans

why is she here

she’s hybrid trash

their words recoil round the room

as I open the door

my flan flies across the floor

splattering everywhere

on the chairs on their hair

on their Nisei frosted faces

on their age old, yellowed pearls

they cried and gasped

and I laughed,

and I laughed


     Genie Nakano

                       September 7, 2021, word count 219

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on

Beautiful Bento lunch with white steamed rice and one pickled plum on top.

Nisei: Second generation Japanese who immigrated before WW2 to America and other countries. In this poem–America.

Published by genienakano

I love writing--It's my joy, my therapy--my confession. I'm a performer, dancer, yoga and meditation instructor, write a poetry column for Rafu Shimpo. Growth and love of life is a key to my happiness.

7 thoughts on “The Revenge of the Flan~~Poetry

  1. Thanks Joyce. I really liked your new title “Nisei Bitches Luncheon . I ended up calling it No Green Tea, but thinking of changing it to your title and posting it on You know your JA when…on facebook.


  2. more thoughts…Yes, I would love to read a poem about this . I have friends who move around and wonder how it affects their children and the parents too. Sometimes we keep thoughts inside.


  3. Genie, my family moved every two or three years when I was growing up…always the new kid! Reading this poem made me remember how that felt. Then I thought of how cruel kids can be to anyone who is “different.” I was always “different” as well as new in town. How I longed to fit in! Your poem captures the feeling perfectly!


  4. Hi Genie,

    Thank you for sending. I read so much emotion in your writing. You painted much emotion in your words. Love to read your poetry.




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