By Sengarone Peter Vetsmany
Students mocked her, whispered in her face
……….me love you long time
shoved coins down her shirt then laughed
when she picked up the silver dots
……….off the asphalt.
The high school counselors pulled me from class
when she had mental breakdowns.
I translated for Noy, helped her adjust
……….to a new life away from Laos
She found comfort with our shared skin tone,
knew I understood the struggles from Laos
because my family survived it,
……….but I was not like her. I was born here.
The attacks on Noy continued and began on me.
Handfuls of rice were thrown at me,
……….I fought back only to get hit
with a glass Coke bottle. I walked home with a swollen eye
when Noy ran to me asking for protection.
……….They treated me like her. I stood there silent.
I gave her a blank stare that I give myself now
years later, her voice haunts me
in my native tongue,
More about the poet:
Sengarone Peter Vetsmany is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is a Poetry Editor for Blue Earth Review and is expecting to finish in 2020, which will be just in time for the 45th anniversary of the Lao Diaspora. Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Peter is a graduate from the University of Idaho with a BA in philosophy. Peter is either spending time around rivers and mountains, trying new restaurants with friends, or watching sports to revive his mind. A big fan of KPOP Girl Groups, Peter will usually be listening to them throughout the day, and when he is writing poetry.
Love the photo? Photo credits go to Krysada Binly Panusith Phounsiry of Snap Pilots. Follow him on IG and via his website.