Korean 1st Birthday

By Betsy Schaffer

a baby girl dressed in
traditional hanbok

cheered on by family
to pick from items
that seal her destiny

money for wealth
thread for long life
pencil for academia
rice for food and shelter

looking around she
grabs the only thing
she wants

her mother’s hand
as it moves away

there’s something
about the thickness
of the nape of
his neck
and the way
his neck holds
his head

that reminds me
of my little brother

found alone
tongue wedged
in his throat

the tears of adoptees
fill the Han River

tears of disbelief
at being seen as
ungrateful for
wanting to know
our own birthright

tears of anger
at being seen as
less important
than the privacy of
faceless birthparents

tears of sadness
at being seen as
pitiful aliens
by the country
that exported us

the Han River
will never run dry

Copyright © Betsy Schaffer. All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Schaffer works with numbers, reads, writes, and ponders her life’s purpose. She was born in Seoul, Korea and her given birthday is January 1967. She arrived to her adopted parents in January 1970. 

Her poetry is published in More Voices: A Collection of Works from Asian Adoptees, Yeong and Yeong Books. 

Follow by Email