When you immigrate to our land, you must learn our language.
We do not say my. My parents do not exist,
nor my husband, my children, my house,
my family, my country. We are one people. Therefore,
you must tell me about our mother’s health, and I’ll reply
with our mother’s new doctor. Together
we’ll manage the mathematical business
of marrying our son and our daughter. Will our family buy them
a new house in our neighborhood? Yes. We’ll tell our grandchildren
our folk tales. Oh, the tiger is coming down the mountain
to carry away our baby by the nape. Oh, our military keeps us safe
from communism. Oh, our brother has died shamefully,
so we erase him. When you’ve replaced all your foreign clothes
with better ones, you won’t notice how our tongues mimic
the shapes of our alphabet. As long as we give ourselves away,
we have nothing to fear.
Sue Hyon Bae is Translation Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. She was raised in South Korea, Malaysia, and Texas. Her work appears in Please Hold Magazine, Four Chambers Press, Apple Valley Review, and elsewhere.