Weight Bearer*

She, who

followed her parents to a whole new world

and left behind doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins

grew up too quickly.


Problems about school:

One, English and ESOL,

because her parents couldn’t teach her what they didn’t know.

Two, being the only person of color in sight,

because she wasn’t home anymore.

Three, culture shock,

because she now lived in the Land of Opportunities.


Only one year after landing to this mysterious place,

she had her pregnant mother to consider

    and her new little sister to raise.

And she hated this new little sister,

but she was far too considerate of her working, struggling parents,

to complain.

So she wrote, on scraps of paper, about

how she hated the fat hippopotamus

for needing so much attention

for stealing so much attention.


Four years after that,

she finally adjusted to America

but now she had, again,

her pregnant mother to consider,

her little sister to raise

plus another little sister to raise,

plus the raging hormones of adolescence.


She started working at 14

because her father’s gambling lost the family more money than they ever had.


Then she started high school.

She was pretty and popular,

and she liked to date

but she had two working parents to consider

    and two little sisters to raise.

So any interested teenager,

when dating her, got

a three-for-one deal.


Years later,

after she got married

after she had two beautiful children of her own to raise

her father was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer

and less than a year after his remission

he suffered a stroke

and she,

became the breadwinner for two families.


Her father out of work,

mother out of work to care for her father,

sisters still in school,

children not yet attending school,

every single one of them,

she looks after.


She, just one person,


the weight

and the responsibilities

of several worlds.


Sally Tran