Thursday, April 25, 2019

Everything that Rises

The two young women were sitting next to each other. I asked them to read their poems out loud to the class. The first woman, from Hong Kong, wrote a poem about her grandmother who lost her land in Indonesia, was exiled in China and then moved to Hong Kong. She has terrible memories that she never shared with her grandchildren, but she turns down her hearing aid the better to forget. (Dementia does the rest.) The second woman, half-Japanese, wrote about her African American grandmother in South Carolina; her mother died in her arms while working in the fields. She'd never told the grandkids about her searing memories. And then I realized: they had written nearly the same poem.

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