Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lost in Transition and Translation

Over five years, I've learned
All the English words
An immigrant must know
For the sake of survival.
Later, I bulldozed
Those words to the ground
To make a new one: Home,
A word whose sound and shape
My parents don't recognize.
Now, I start to re-learn 家,
The word my parents
wrote on my palm
The day I left Formosa
For the land of maple leaves
Under the same bright moon.

Published in Shot Glass Journal, #5, Fall 2011

1 - 家 is the Chinese word for home.
2 - Formosa, which means "beautiful island" in Portuguese, is the former name of Taiwan.