Come Home to My Side Mother

When you went away to give me a future,
Confused and in tears, I was alone.
I can fathom not - this - your decision.
You said,
"We will be apart, my child, but not for long."

Countless questions poured in my young heart.
Why, Mother, must you go?
Your child will be lonely when we part.
Alone now, I face wretched days of emptiness.

I seek the memories of our past with each other.
I was in pain but with joy simply because you were near,
But now memories are of sad days and only my tears.
This torment - will this be endless?

Why must our life be this way?
Why must our future be ransomed?
Can't your hopes for me
Find no fulfillment in the land we call our own?

Mother, return to my side!
I yearn for the day you can take me in your arms.
If you stay, your hopes may be in vain,
But together - perhaps - we can find some fragments of happiness.

by Nars Julian


(Ed. note: This poem, which won the Carlos Bulosan Foundation Literary Award in 1988, is by a Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong, who writes from the perspective of her child about their separation.)