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

Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Price of Speaking English

When my father's coworker drove him to the ER with back pain, the doctor sent him home with an adhesive heat patch. Weeks later, he felt as if his back was being stabbed with a dagger.

Armed with English, my borrowed tongue for ten years, I took my father back to the ER.  The doctor asked questions, ran tests, asked further questions, then returned days later with a diagnosis and a thorough explanation. My father was sent to the oncology ward.

Nothing was unusual about this. My stoic father and I have experienced similar situations after settling in this land of opportunity. There's a price to pay for everything. 

these first weeks
a mere blur to me . . .
slant of moonlight
on father's bed 
I sit in grief unspoken