Linda Patterson, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
It was a dark time for childhood.
The Japanese ruled Korea
Food was scarce, my relatives starved
Life was painful for my mother.
She watched siblings suffer and die
All this caused her to become hard.
Responsibility was hard,
She never had a childhood.
At eight she watched her brother die.
Poor go un-helped in Korea.
His care fell under my mother
She watched as other siblings starved
Given away before she starved
My grandmother’s choices were hard.
To Japan she sent my mother
So she would survive childhood
A concubine from Korea
Was better than waiting to die.
My grandmother was doomed to die
Gaining surgery while they starved
was unlikely in Korea.
Making the sacrifice was hard
To leave her home of childhood
And marry to save her mother.
Father bought the hand of mother
So my grandmother would not die
Seeing too much in childhood
She chose to spend her life love starved.
The move to this country was hard
As was leaving loved Korea.
Never again would Korea
Be home for my lonely mother
Missing her sibling’s deaths was hard
One of the last of twelve to die
It is their love for which she starved
She regrets her lost childhood.
She had no choice in childhood
But to watch as family starve
And feel guilt when she did not die.