because it has no pure products

because the Pacific Ocean sweeps along the coastline
because the water of the ocean is cold
and because land is better than ocean

because I say we rather than they

because I live in California
I have eaten fresh artichokes
and jacaranda bloom in April and May

because my senses have caught up with my body
my breath with the air it swallows
my hunger with my mouth

because I walk barefoot in my house

because I have nursed my son at my breast
because he is a strong American boy
because I have seen his eyes redden when he is asked who he is
because he answers I don’t know

because to have a son is to have a country
because my son will bury me here
because countries are in our blood and we bleed them

because it is late and too late to change my mind
because it is time.

  • Shirley Geok-lin Lim, “Learning to love America” from What the Fortune Teller Didn’t Say. Copyright © 1998 by Shirley Geok-lin Lim. Reprinted with the permission of West End Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

  • Source: What the Fortune Teller Didn’t Say (West End Press, 1998)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"Sure, I'd had to recite Paul Revere's Ride, or what have you, but I didn't know how expansive and powerful poetry actually was. I am a better thinker, a better listener, a better performer, a better entertainer, a better and wiser and more helpful human being because of POL."
Lawson Marchetti
2015 MS POL Champion