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DIANNE KIM Age: 16, Grade: 11 Gender: M Type: Writing Category: Poetry Barcode: 11287645 School Name: Milton Academy, Milton, MA 1942, Japanese Occupation Of Kore
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DIANNE KIM Age: 16, Grade: 11 Gender: M Type: Writing Category: Poetry Barcode: 11287645 School Name: Milton Academy, Milton, MA 1942, Japanese Occupation Of Korea; Hot Air Balloon 1942, Japanese Occupation of Korea I hated my Japanese name. I was Hyeonju, not Harumi, and I longed for the Korean textbook my teacher took away. You may not speak Korean, she said. And of course I never listened. My palms would sting for days and once my calves bled from the blows. For a week I had to wear long skirts. The fifth time I refused to answer roll call my teacher didn’t hit me. She grabbed my arm dragged me out of the classroom and me, I stumbled, burning under the stares of my classmates. Her nails jabbed my cheek as she forced my gaze outside. I blinked at the dusty streets as a truck rolled by. Her voice snarled in my ear. “Harumi you silly, stupid girl. Do you wish to be taken away on that truck?” My breath hitched I shook my head. The sight of the girls sitting in the back of the truck, skirts flapping and hands folded scared me, made me sick almost. Her nails dug deeper I winced. The trucks. My mother would close the window when one passed by our house. I had no idea where the girls in them went, but my sister did.?Comfort women, she called them. For the soldiers. Mother scolded her before she could continue. Later in a hushed voice she told me some threw themselves out of the speeding truck choosing death over something I was too young to know. Hot Air Balloon In fourth grade I wanted to fly. Above me the contoured clouds ambled along, oblivious. All I could do was stare goggly-eyed at winged superheroes on TV, scribble clouds on the margins of my wrinkled math homework, bring trinkets to show-and-tell, convincing the class I would invent wings with them some day. But seasons passed and sleeves became an inch too short the dream a galaxy too wide the sky simply what lay behind the window. One fall day I remembered to look up. A lone hot air balloon, an oddity a dot in the desolate sky. I began to wish for hot air balloons, not wings; not quite the fourth grade dream, but I wanted the wind to accompany me in touching the sky.
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