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Image by Hannah Wei

That Foreign Student

The poet sketches the woes of students, who have come to foreign shores to carve out a bright future, but find themselves alone, outsiders in a new and alien world.

“Butterflies, red and blue,

alight on golden thistle.”

He’s from a river province.

That’s what he tells his classmates if they ask.

Like he says he came to America

for a Western education.

It’s as meaningless to them

as the books he reads,

all jumbled characters,

like something more at home

inked on an upper forearm

than the page.

In the park, by himself,

he’s writing a letter to his mother,

a heavy-handed calligraphy,

lying about the friends he’s made,

how well he’s doing,

unable to sketch the solemn phrase,

“I’m too homesick to study.”

Then he opens a notebook

of some poems he’s written.

Nearby, butterflies, red and blue,

alight on golden thistle,

just like he said they would.

That Foreign Student: Welcome
Notebook and Pen

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

That Foreign Student: Text
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