How I Came to America
“Credibility gap” and “rubbernecking”.
My father loved the language of America,
loved the lure of opportunity.
He came here often. When I was six,
he brought me back a yellow
45 rpm disk of the Alphabet Song.
I thought Americans changed zed
to zee just to rhyme with p.
Later, he brought View-Master stereo glasses
to look at the Organ Pipe Monument,
with cactuses: corduroy with spines.
Then the record of West Side Story.
At last, the right job offer. Then Immigration:
quotas, based on profession and country
of birth. “The quota for scientists born
on Cyprus has been met for 1967.
Is there anything else you can do?"
asked a creative American bureaucrat.
“In my day,” said my Dad, “scientists had to blow
their own flasks." So, I came to the US
as the daughter of a Cypriot glassblower.
Grandpa and Uncle Bill would huddle
on the six-oh pasture for hours, looking
in dismay at the raw cuts in the land,
dirt showing—wounds that wouldn’t
heal. At only seven, Sue was bored
by talk of Lespedeza Cuneata, Big Blue,
Cordgrass. She always thought Lespedeza
was the Princess of the Grassland who wore
a flouncing ball gown, had red hair
and was a real flirt. Big Blue loved her.
Sue imagined him tall, heavy set, not fat
you understand, but faithful to his name,
large. One of his hands could cup
Lespedeza’s head, thumb on one ear, pinky
on the other. His feet were like those
of ol’ Doc Fletcher, the vet, who’d change
into boots in the barn before going to see
a case. Sue saw Doc’s shoes there the morning
after Daisy delivered another still-born calf.
E. Laura Golberg emigrated from England to America at age 21. She won first place in the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts Larry Neal Poetry Competition. Laura’s poetry has appeared in Poet Lore, Birmingham Poetry Review, Spillway, RHINO, and the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, among other places. Her poem ‘Girls’ School Uniform Hats’ is upcoming in The Laurel Review. www.ELauraGolberg.com/is her Web Page.