The latest in a biweekly poetry series curated by Hanif Abdurraqib

he never has
my mother's nose,
nor my father's skin,
nor did he learn Spanish

from his own last name.
He often looks the way
other people see me
when they aren't afraid,

when my shoes and belt
are still on and I don't have to be
across the country.
His hair is curly,

he wears glasses,
jeans, a beard.
I would never wake up
wondering if his name was mine.

My grandmother would never
call him Mi Lindo.
The brown boy is safer
when he looks like their sons

but not his own.
This is not passing;
this is assimilation.
When their sons

start to look like you,
even when they don’t.