“Struggling Roots”


My grandmother calls to me

Yora, Yora, you eat?

Yes, cảm ơn, thank you I whisper weekly

I‘m looking down at my feet

My grandfather sits by me

We can only smile in silence


Why didn’t you teach me Dad?

Am I too white to be Vietnamese?

Can I really be a part of your family?

My branches are too heavy in one direction

Off balance in the wind


I want to know how to speak it

I crave it

I need it

Teach me how to say it right

Before it’s too late for my words to take flight


A piece in a puzzle that doesn’t quite fit

A face in a family that feels like it’s split

Be the bridge that helps us get better

Like a that holds generations together

Weak roots cannot stand this bad weather


Help me cross and understand

The powerful lays of both of my lands


Photo by Internet Archive Book Images

CC BY-SA 4.0 Unbalanced Roots by Zora is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

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