By Kaitlyn Hall ’23. Art by Alex Park ’23.
When you were thirteen,
did you know you would be here?
Divorced with two Asian-American Daughters?
Did you know you would work like a servant to your older sister for years?
Yelled at and treated as if not family,
Sleeping on dirt, bereft of support and love,
While she fancied her gold and kissed the feet of strangers.
Did you know you would work as a waitress,
serving food and scrubbing the tables until your hands bled?
Saving every penny so you could be on your own?
But did you know what being on your own would entail?
When you were a child,
Did you know you would leave Laos?
And live on the other side of the world?
On the other side of your family?
Of your culture?
Of your home?
Poor and alone?
I could excuse you and say you were different.
That you had a unique mind with foolish ideas.
But I would be wrong.
You ran with eyes of fire;
With hope for a chance at a life with dreams,
Dreams if not you then your daughters could achieve.
Oh, how you ran with the idea that maybe, just maybe,
Your children could have a life free of the horrors you witnessed in your homeland;
The troubles you encountered;
The suffering you endured;
And the heartbreak you went through, surrendering your dreams.
Perhaps you knew all along.
But you knew all this shit would be worth it
Because you’ll see your daughters striving for their dreams.
In a way you were never able to.
At thirteen, they dreamt of being doctors and traveling the world
Whereas at thirteen,
You ran and watched as the bombs fell like rain.