My Name is Not My Face

My name should be worn by a freckled faced girl
who eats tender beef rouladen and mustardy
potato salad. And blond pony tails tied with lace
should dangle next to her soft white ear lobes.
But instead my name masks a face worn by Asians.
People with black hair. People with honey-colored
skin tinged with cream. People with distinctly shaped
almost hidden eyes. People with non-German names.
My name identifies a person recognizable by
stoic imagery, a country, a bitter history, a family.
I feel sorry for those thinking they know
what to expect when they hear my name,
but then see my face. I want to soften the blow
of their double-take.
I want to explain. I want them to understand
that I am more confused  than they are.
© 2010 Betsy Schaffer. All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy works with numbers, reads, writes, and ponders her life’s purpose. She was born in Seoul, Korea. Her poetry is published in More Voices: A Collection of Works from Asian Adoptees (Yeong and Yeong Books). 

Betsy writes at Mostly Poems…by a Korean Adoptee and Person of the World at and at The Write Sign at

“We have stories / as old as the great seas / breaking through the chest / flying out the mouth, / noisy tongues that once were silenced, /all the oceans we contain / coming to light.” —Linda Hogan

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