This is the seventh in a series of pieces from Millburn High School's award-winning literary magazine, WORD. The author, Angela Jin, is a rising senior at Millburn High School and recently completed a summer at the New Jersey Governor's School in the Sciences.


The Great American Melting Pot

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By Angela Jin


Her name is Jumoke.

It is Nigerian for “everybody loves the child”

At three someone laughed

At six she cried

Her mother said, “Darling,

Everybody loves the child”

And at ten they spat in her face

She learned that day

At thirteen she was spiteful

Her skin was not ebony

It was death


His name is Ángel.

He is a messenger of God

“Isn’t that, you know,

A girl’s name?”

He said no

They did not listen

And his father said,

“You, hijo,

Were sent by God”

And at ten he was

The spawn of the Devil

At thirteen he was spiteful

His name was a mistake

And he downed fire


Her name is Sui.

Not Sue


She could not say l’s

She could not say r’s

They laughed and said,

“Squinty eyes, dumpling”

At 14, perfect English

But they still laughed

At 18, Harvard

But they still laughed

And she was spiteful


Jumoke named her child Jennifer

She did not speak a word of Nigerian

Ángel named his child Robert

He did not speak a word of Spanish

Sui named her child Katherine

She did not speak a word of Chinese

Heritage did not matter, as long as

You were in

The Great American Melting Pot

The Millburn High School Literary Magazine, Word, is a juried publication that showcases the extraordinary talents of this school's writers, artists, photographers, craftspeople and illustrators. The editors and staff take the process of creating the magazine very seriously. We hold regular open meetings from September to February to read submissions and to identify potential pieces for inclusion in the next volume. Then we choose selections that exemplify the diversity and strength of our student body and spend several months working on a unifying theme, on layout and production. Since we are constantly amazed by the abilities of our peers, we consider the magazine a tribute to the virtuosity, skill and creativity of our student body.