By Joanne H., 826 Valencia
In this poem, a student’s experiences in two countries meld together as she seeks out her true home.
A kaleidoscope of lotus flowers
blanket a pond under
an intricately carved stone bridge.
Eating out of bowls instead of plates,
fragrant ribs in a new Hong Kong crib.
ACs were blowing a cool breeze,
but this trip was no breeze at all.
Smog like an oven
constantly smothers buildings
with an ugly, pungent stench.
As I leaned back in my chair,
I could feel my sweat-soaked t-shirt
stick to me like sweet honey boba
car horns blaring,
shopkeepers yelling like it’s Black Friday.
of the Chinese language
Back in the Bay Area,
windy breeze blows through
Clear blue skies like cut glass,
warm sunshine breaks through like a prism.
A rainbow of new languages and people on familiar buses
from North Beach
Back in their homeland,
under the shared umbrella,
humid, pouring rain led
my dad to snuggle my mom affectionately.
Something I’d never seen.
While me, fooled
by McD’s familiar Golden Arches,
uncomfortable doing something that was simple back home,
I looked back at my dad with pleading eyes,
urging him to help me;
the unfamiliar burger was not enjoyable.
Camouflaged by a sea of Chinese people,
but unable to break their spoken code.
Back at home,
my mom asks me to read the mail again,
a page full of unreadable scribbles to her;
I understand it, but with my limited vocabulary,
I can’t explain it.
Having to ask what my parents want
at the Starbucks counter,
I am often embarrassed to speak in a foreign language;
I can feel those waiting behind me start to get impatient,
When we’re away,
we may both miss our homelands,
but home is wherever we are
Having dealt with language borders my whole life,
it isn’t a big struggle nor is it easygoing; more just
About the Author
Joanne H. was born in San Francisco and is sixteen years old. She loves to read books and play sports like tennis and badminton. Her favorite way to pass time is to watch shows. In the future, she’d like to get a good job so that she could live comfortably. She is considering something maybe in the medicine department. She also loves golden retrievers.
From this project
Informational, Narrative, Persuasive, Poetry, Social-Emotional Learning
Write Your Way Curriculum: Grades 9-12
by 826 National