Grandma’s Eyes

Posted in 2009, API, culture, poetry, politics, racism, reflections, social issues, Vietnam by nam on December 9, 2009

My grandma’s tears resemble the bombs dropped our countryside

Raining down like it was our last typhoon

I see her whole life story through her eyes

A different chapter with every blink

A different memory with every stare

She recites her Catholic prayers hours upon hours a day

While staring out her apartment window

I will probably never tell her that I’m not religious anymore

But that doesn’t make me appreciate her faith any less.

Routine psalms whisper under her tongue

Like a soft breeze through a bamboo shoots

and I always wonder who or what she prays for

and if anyone is returning favor.

Raising 3 children, 4 if you count my grandpa, through a war blanketed by bloodshed and confusion,

a refugee camp, a drunken abusive husband and escape through three different countries…

ending up in the one that praises individuality and yet calls us gooks, japs, and chinks because to them we all look alike.

the one that ripped tear filled children away from their mother’s arms

with the illusion that they will be reunited

There’s no such thing as magic, only an illusion

Operation Baby Lift was nothing more than an illusion,

a trick up their camouflage sleeves.

You can’t fool my grandma. You can’t hustle a hustler.

She kept us together without knowing any English

even ‘til this day, besides “hello” “goodbye” and “thank you”.

And that’s more than enough, because to fully understand her,

all you need to do is take a look into her eyes, and see her story

a different chapter with every blink

a different memory with every stare.


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