Happy New Year! I am reflecting on my writing goals for this year, and I want to share my new resolution with you:  exploring different kinds of writing!

Rosa Easton reading her poem Mother Who Are you at Peninsula Library

For this year’s Palos Verdes Library District Anthology 2017, Voices From the Peninsula, I wrote a poem called “Mother Who Are You.” It was in response to a poem that my daughter, Claire, wrote about me called “Assimilation in Seven Parts.” I imitated her style and some phrases, and tried to respond to the questions I thought she presented in her poem.

I consulted with my poet friend, Tanya Ko Hong. I read it out loud this week at the library and it felt great! Several people approached me afterward saying it resonated with them, especially the last line. Let me know if it does with you too.

Rosa Kwon Easton

after my daughter’s poem about me, Assimilation in Seven Parts

I am a girl
frozen in time 1971
Haewon who was me
age seven
who learned about America
borrowing books
TV shows
can I be Marcia in The Brady Bunch?
you ask assimilation
what does it mean?
choose a new land
ignore the other
hot dogs over rice
apple pie over kimchi
Hankook saram, Mikook saram?
who are you?
assimilation to me
becoming like others
want to fit in
recite Dick & Jane
drawing laughter
sometimes sneers
from teachers
pale as ghosts
assimilation means
a playground
I would leave
to one that
would leave me
hungry for a name
easy to pronounce
Haewon became
picked from American
baby name book
assimilation is choosing
potential identities
try that color
suits for a time
enemy chanting
Chinese dirty knees
put on that face
others recommend
you become that person
inside and out
I am that person
I don’t even question
assimilation to me
having my hapa children
half-full or half-empty
or are they double
like I was
or am
a new generation
less defined
my daughter wrote a poem
Umma, who are you?
I am curious
how about you?

I hid in shame
but you didn’t forget
my name is Haewon
meaning graceful princess
your name is Heewon
hope everlasting
stories buried in time
memories that are mine
now yours to keep
with gratitude I weep


Rosa K. Easton and friends at Peninsula Library

Have a comment? I’d love to read it! Leave a note below or at Facebook and let me know what’s on your mind.

Rosa Kwon Easton