My mother cleaned the houses of
retired rich white women
so she could put food on the table.
My father worked 30 years at a company
that let him go in a blink
2008 collateral damage
I sit in lecture halls and
learn about the placement of stars
the French Revolution, the
abolition of slavery and yet I’ve never
learned to live with this guilt.
My mother has never seen
the inside of a lecture hall
(I skip tutorials all the time)
I sit behind a desk and craft ideas
while my mother is elbows-deep in citrus soap
The thing I’ve learned the most is
that maybe being an immigrant’s daughter is
to live a life of guilt
because I know
that this future of success ahead
is nothing short of
the plan my parents so carefully
worked so tirelessly for me to achieve.
Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your immigrant stories in the comments below.