By: Bryan Thao Worra
At 3 years old in Montana,
I became a citizen on Flag Day
During the American bicentennial.
That and a cup of coffee gets you
A cup of coffee even if you write
A thousand poems for a million elephants.
I didn’t stay there, of course,
But in that city I met my first ghosts
And dinosaurs, gorgons and ancient gods.
I played with a young girl named Dulcinea,
Discovered the family pigs eaten by a bear,
And saw my first neighbor die,
Crushed beneath a fallen telephone pole.
I wish I remembered his name.
Our family dog Dutch, in his tragic jealousy,
Tried to kill me a few times.
I still have one scar from it after 40 years.
But I miss him anyway,
Because that’s the way refugee memory works.
Author’s Note: Based on a true story. This week, June 14th is Flag Day, which celebrates the adoption of the US flag in 1777 by the resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Congress first established it in August, 1946, although President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation as far back as 1916. Poet Bryan Thao Worra wrote recently about one of the more iconic pictures of him as a youth on Flag Day in Missoula at the MinneAsian stories project. Outside of Little Laos on the Prairie, you can visit him online at http://thaoworra.wordpress.com!
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