Two poems by E. Laura Golberg

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.



Lespedeza


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