April 14, 2013

Le Pham Le

RESETTLEMENT

Young couple with small child,
we arrive in San Francisco
one July afternoon,
summer grasses waving on the hills.
Why then do we feel
such a chill autumn wind?

Carrying one suitcase,
one affidavit of refugee status,
one outfit each
bought with money
loaned by a friend in the Malaysian camp,
at the end of the tunnel
of wasted youth, of obstacle after obstacle,
we arrive in America.

Our ragged clothes give us away
and our sponsors welcome us,
laughing, “You do look like refugees!”
At journey’s end,
uncertain, hesitant, we begin.

from Rattle #21, Summer 2004
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