51. What are Two Rights of Everyone Living in the United States?

Jenny Lu

 

The naturalization test

to ensure that foreigners can answer the

questions that most Americans can’t

 

I remember sitting in the car, listening to

the questions

all 100 of them.

           

            Or on the bus, kids laughing at

            “66. When was the constitution written?”

            because the Haitian bus driver was studying before school ended.

            because all the immigrants had the same CD.

 

My mom studied for months and months,

and I helped.

I quizzed her when she cooked,

the monotonous voice of the disk disrupting our dinners –

“59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?”

and I listened to her answers,

spoken in crooked, broken English.

 

And that’s the history of building a life,

an art history of how we came with a picture

and painted over it.

Empty School Buses

Jenny Lu

 

Busy Boston drivers,

engines running.

 

There is a calm in their slow to a stop

and a quiet in their patience,

all eyes on the flashing red lights

of the yellow school bus.

A sight to see.

This unifying love for our children.

 

Hands leaving hands of mothers

with a charge in the twinkle of their eyes

and an unspoken promise to come back whole.

 

But the buses stumble home a little lighter

and the classrooms, tomorrow, are dimmer.

Seats- empty.

Desks- empty.

 

Angels taken by arms that hurt,

And the arms that hold them

wait at the bus stop for broken halos.

 

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