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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 3, September 2012

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Nu Quang
Seattle, Washington, USA


The Price of Freedom

nuoc nha
the Vietnamese
for country—
searching for new homes
people looked to the sea

In unified Vietnam, our South Vietnamese flag vanished; the Hanoi flag, with one yellow star on a red background, flew everywhere. Houses stood abandoned on avenues, side streets and corners. Many fishing boats were sailing away, and my friends, my neighbors, my fellow countrymen, were boarding those boats. Unable to pay for the trip, I could only wait and pray.

Orderly Departure
opened its arms to me . . .
suddenly
winter turned into spring
like the shift of a weather vane

Since my sponsor could only fund my passage to America, I had to leave my adoptive mother behind, under the care of my sister who lived with us.

My adoptive parents had both emigrated to South Vietnam from Guangdong Province. Because of the war against North Vietnam, supported by China, we ethnic Chinese were cut off from Beijing. Resettling in the New World, I was blessed that I could enjoy a variety of things I couldn’t have in my native country.

Tientsin pears
from their motherland
a sweet taste
they never knew . . .
a fruit I can savor


Author's Note: Orderly Departure was a program that allowed us to leave the country safely as a result of the death toll of the boat people. Nuoc means water, nha means home; together they mean "country" in Vietnamese.

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