The following interview of Teresa Mei Chuc by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK Los Angeles (reproduced with permission).
Teresa Mei Chuc was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and immigrated to the U.S. under political asylum with her mother and brother shortly after the Vietnam War while her father remained in a Vietcong “re-education” camp for nine years. Teresa is a graduate of the Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, and teaches literature and writing at a public school. Her poetry appears in journals such as EarthSpeak Magazine, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Hypothetical Review, Kyoto Journal, The Prose-Poem Project, The National Poetry Review, Rattle, Verse Daily and in anthologies such as New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press, 2010), With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (West End Press, 2014), and Mo’ Joe (Beatlick Press, 2014). Red Thread is her first full-length collection of poetry. Teresa’s second collection of poetry is Keeper of the Winds (FootHills Publishing, 2014).
for my son
How can I convince you
that you do have chlorophyll,
that you can take the sun’s
energy and turn it into sugar?
Produce something sweet inside of you.
Take the waste people breathe out
and make it into something that
will keep you alive, that will keep
those around you alive, create oxygen.
Why do you say that this metaphor
doesn’t work, that you don’t have
the powers of a plant, that nature
didn’t intend you that way?
Look, how you twist and turn
towards the light.