HIDE YOUR PEARLS FROM THE PIRATES
i’ve never been there
but you have
did you like it?
because your parents took you and your siblings
and you ran away
on a boat.
it was claustrophobic,
it was scary,
you hid your pearls beneath your hair
you could not
when they came in
you didn’t know they would look like that
pirates are real,
and maybe we’re all just ordinary
in extraordinary ways.
you were only seven
your parents took you to america
for more opportunities
my parents (that’s you, by the way) took me to a small suburb
so i would be safe
so, thanks for that
do you realize that i’ve never been there?
i should clarify
there means two places
china and vietnam
what’s it like there?
if i go to beijing, will i wear an oxygen mask just
to walk the streets?
if i go to vietnam, will i know what war is like?
chinese and vietnamese, too
but i’ve lost those traditions
—from 2020 Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Why do you like to write poetry?
Allison Wong: “I like to write poetry because it’s possibly the most human way of expressing myself. It can be as simple or complex as I want, and it’s still beautiful no matter what.”