Poem: “Seoul Sister” translated (part one)

I came up with the name Seoul Sister

Because Koreans have much soul

I was born in Seoul

with a baby heart of gold

from a mama who would’ve

protected me if she could

with her life

I believe this.

My therapist said

mama was a narcissist

and she’s probably right

but I know why mama

would go even near to the dark side

because she was forced into it.

My mama was good and smarter than most

Mama was the first in her class.

among the rich students

it was mama who had class

above the entitled elite.

Mama earned her keep

won huge bags of rice

that saved her starving family

she won it from being the smartest

of her class that she crashed

Mama earned her right to study

by earnestness and stubbornness

She peered into the school house windows

learning in secret

every day she was shooed away

but she came back always

and won her seat by knowing

by learning what the rich dumdums

couldn’t my mama invented

her own scholarship

She earned, not won her seat

at the front of the class

with full honors

the valedictorian of her high school class

All I can do is tell her story

with broken pieces of love

I don’t know another way.

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