Same Eyes, Different View

A poem about returning to Saigon during Vietnamese new year

Same eyes, different view I so much want to look like I belong to you

In your Vietnamese eyes do I have a similar face

Are our bodies identified as same by a visual ‘race’

But behind my eyes is a white puzzled gaze

Built from a white upbringing and western ways

And Vietnamese language, I don’t know

I wasn’t even aware that pho doesn’t rhyme with go

But I’ve come home to find a sense of family that I feel I’ve lost

And I cling to this hope through much emotional struggle and cost

I’m visiting Vietnam for Tet and don’t know if I belong

So many cultural misunderstandings make me feel wrong

An orphan with no family relying on strangers to be kind

I fear I don’t really know what or who I want to find

I’ve returned to Saigon, part excitement and part fear

Chuc Mung Nam Moi or Happy New Year!
 

April, 2003

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