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By: Monica Kam

The Poem

the old are impatient
with the young
so slow
we spoil the game

some of us still waiting
for our forefathers
to settle their debts
before we can learn to play

others serve
chrysanthemum tea
and ask for forgiveness
miming their gratitude

I teach that
you can give away a game
with just one sigh
they lean in

I teach that sparrows
live amongst bamboo
but take flight
to become dragons

I learn to touch
a tile and know its name
that we, thirteen orphans
make a winning hand

the elders peer in
adjusting our shoulders
and calling our names
louder than our shuffling

the dice are thrown
the prevailing wind is East
these are the rules
they welcome us home

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