Giang Luong Brown
I am an orphan, a Vietnamese refugee, one of
many newcomers to your shore. I still live
in the South Land, but in another continent,
with another family. They treat me well.
I am 16. Here are my “message” poems.
1. Look at my footprints in the snow, they lead in and out of the house. I went to the telephone, to the radio, to the garden past the bird-feeder, out to the road to my upstairs window looking for you 2. Until recently I thought: Americans like things complicated. How much easier it would have been, I kept thinking like a child, to give back my mother and father my sister and brothers and take away the long trip new friends a new way of dressing the many operations new ideas, new thoughts 3. When they first came, I was a child. By the time they left, I was very old. 4. Mother, I hate you! You said we could go home then stopped four times to greet one more friend. 5. Last night I dreamed I was home! But when I awoke I was here 6. The professor from the university says at dinner this evening that, by the time they are ten, children of Vietnam know 1,000 ca dao. By the time I was ten I know many things I know so much my head is bursting. But I do not know any of the folk songs our distinguished guest is talking about. 7. Americans are so funny! To know hunger, you talk about it. To experience poverty, you read a book. Love — films. Food — eat out. Even the Shrine is a machine in the living room. 8. They say, “Giang Luong, what do you want to do when you get older?” I only shake my head and giggle nervously: hiding my face so they don’t look into my eyes