Sarena Tien


“Wǒ bù zhī dào” / « Je ne sais pas » / “I don’t know”
is what I want to tell people
when they ask
how many languages I speak

because even though I learned
Chinese at home,
French at school,
and English in America,

having grown up
shy, Chinese-American, and a girl
also taught me to be well-versed in
the languages of

“Can you speak up?”
“Where are you really from?”
and “Don’t go out by yourself at night.”

Sarena Tien is a Chinese-American writer, feminist, and Francophile.