Julianne Cheng

“Hi, my name is Julianne. I like writing poetry because there’s always a sense of fun in it, and I like writing silly ones that make my family laugh. I also like writing meaningful ones that really mean a lot in the world. What inspired this poem was a story about an immigrant that gets rejected, and I don’t think that it’s a story that gets told a lot, and that’s what I like to write about, stories that are different and unique.”

Poem on Belonging

HOPE: LOST AND FOUND

Asians, Irish, boats galore,
so many new places to explore.
I take off my hat and look at the sea,
the powerful Lady Liberty in front of me.
I put my hand over my heart, and do a quick pray, 
that we will all remember this day.
The first day we came to America now,
then I pause and do a quick bow,
To the woman who represents freedom and justice, 
is welcoming with open arms to all of us.

My boat docks, and I get off at the island.
I look at the place that will soon be my land.
I get in a line, and after long hours of waiting,
I get to the front where a security guard is stating: 
“Drop your luggage, come with me,
So we can make sure that you are healthy.”
We get to the room, and I spot it’s all white.
It gives me a slight sense of fright.
They ask me to sit on one of the beds,
And then they methodically check me from toe to head.

They look very worried, and I wonder what’s wrong,
then the interpreter comes along.
He says I’m not fit for this country, his look fills me with dread, 
So back to my country I have to go instead.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but it has to be bad.
I was so close to realizing the dream I had.
I had hoped for a new future, just me and you.
But now I guess my old one will have to do.

Going home to my country is a sad fate,
But even there, I know my life will be great.
A wife, two kids, and a little dog too,
I know my life will be better with you.
The promise of my American Dream, found at last, 
even ideas from the past.
I keep it in my heart, even if it can’t be,
‘cause I know it will always be here with me. 
Good ideas, new and old,
Now I have a story that’s ready to be told.
Exciting thoughts I bring to my land,
Liberty, freedom, and justice I now understand. 
Though I cannot be in America now,
I’ll bring this hope to my land, I vow.

America is an exciting new place,
but not everyone can win this race.
I have lost, but I’ve also found.
The hope of my American Dream, on my own ground.

Copyright © 2022 Julianne Cheng. Used with permission of the author.