(a black-out poem)
when i was 8 they came from hanoi,
in the sweltering heat, women delivering babies into the night.
my mom smiled and said, “the narrow hanoi streets can’t
pronounce ‘hello’ and neon lights laugh at the tiny girl
in front of a small concrete building with the warmth
of a cold night.”
children pointed at me
at the clinic i heard one ask, “why?
i hid my face
replaced my “otherness” with the night.
girls taunted me for relinquishing language
but i hadn’t been able to bond
and i left my mother
in this room.