☯SYMBOLIC MEANINGS OF THE CAT☯
☾ m y s t e r i o u s
☾ i n t e l l i g e n t
☾ i t u i t i v e
☾ w a t c h f u l n e s s
☾ s u p e r n a t u r a l
☾ s e l e c t i v e
☾ i n d e p e n d e n t
☾ c l e v e r
☾ s e c r e t i v e
☾ a s t u t e
The gist of this poem is that when Ha's mother visited the I Ching Teller of Fate, he foretold that Ha and her family's lives will twist inside out. However, Ha does not know if her and her family's lives will twist inside out for the better, or for the worse.
☹ "It gets worse before it gets better"☺
War is coming closer to Ha's home and that the year's bánh Chùng will be smeared in blood.
I am the architect
of my own destruction
KhoIn this poem Hà's three older brothers tease her because of her name. Brother Quang remembers Hà was red and fat as a baby hippopotamus when he first saw Hà, hence creating the name Hà Mã, River Horse. Brother Vũ imitates Bruce Lee as he breaks wood or bricks, while screaming Hà Ya. Mother's Tail is what Brother Khôi calls Hà. Since she is constantly being three steps away from her mother. However, Mother states that Hà's name originated after the Golden (Kim) River (Hà). Mother also tells Hà They tease you because they adore you. Even though Hà knows Mother is wrong, she still adores her mother. Hà adores her mother so greatly that she would give the first vibrant yellow, ripe papaya to Mother. As a representation of her love for Mother.
It was as if the seed was a fish eye, slippery, shiny and black. However that eye-like seed had now flourished into a tree, transforming slowly, but surely as time ticked. Since, Brother Khôi was four years older and taller, he was able to see higher. As a result,he was the one to discover the first white blossom. As the time went by, Brother Vũ at eighteen, later found a newly born papaya, the size of a fist, clinging onto the trunk of the tree. However, Brother Quang, the twenty-one year old studying engineering, had not noticed any new feature. But he might notice something before Hà does. This resulted in his little sister to rise first every morning and stare at the green lightbulb-like fruit, determined to be the first to witness its ripening.
☂ TiTi Waves Good-bye
Not only are the rich are traveling to Vung Tau, to flee Vietnam on cruise ships. But TiTi, Ha's bestfriend, is leaving as well. Not only is effecting TiTi but Ha as well. Tears where cascading down their faces, while both were gasping for air. When TiTi entered her family's car, she began to wave from the back window. Although, TiTi and her family left Vietnam, Ha is glad that her family is able stay.
✘Missing in Action
It is the anniversary of when Father left home on a navy mission, nine years ago when Ha was almost one. One hour south from the city, on Route 1, he was captured. On this day, Mother prepares an alter to chant for his return. His portrait is displayed. The peacock tail-like wrinkles that are at the corners of Father's forever-young eyes are too much for Mother to bare. So, she locks it away after the chant of his return is finished, with the exception of the offered tuberoses, glutinous rice, incense, and fruit.
People can barely afford to buy food. Therefore, hardly anyone buys the clothes that Mother creates, late at night. However, it wasn't always like it is now. There was a time when money wasn't scarce and people were able to buy the clothes Mother made, late at night. But, times have change, since the war is moving closer to Vietnam. Although no one really purchases anything, Ha's Mother still drops off the clothes at the market stalls, on the weekends, trying to collect on last weeks goods.
The war is influencing the conversations that are occurring in Miss Xinh's class, on every Friday on the topic of current news. However, Miss Xinh finally say enough, since they were constantly are saying the same things over and over, sounding like a broken record. Constantly hearing how close the Communists have gotten to Saigon, how much prices have gone up since American Soldiers left, how many distant bombs were heard from the previous night.
" From now on Fridays will be for happy news."
No one has anything to say.
✦A Day Downtown
The tears that stream down President Thiệu's face have no meaning. The tears are only for show. President Thiệu does not mean anything he says at the ceremony that's meant to comfort war wives. Even though, President Thiệu's talk is cheap, Mother and Ha still attend, however they go to receive five kilos of sugar, ten kilos of rice, and a small jug of vegetable oil.
As soon as Mother finishes the first bag of five Brother Khoi says to only make three. However, Mother changed his mind to leave with them.
⚁One Mat Each
April 29 (sunset)
The family climbs on the ship and claims a space of two straw mats under the deck, enough for five to lie side by side. By sunset the space is only one straw mat. Bodies on the ship are cram together. Everyone knows the ship could sink, unable to hold the piles of bodies.
🐥Brother Khoi's Secret
Neighbors complain about Brother Khoi's odor. Brother Khoi never takes of his jacket and clutches something in his left pocket. Finally Brother Vu hold Brother Khoi down and forces him to open his hand. Unfortunately, it was a chick, flattened with it's neck dangling off his palm. Brother Quang carries him above deck.
At nightfall females make their way up in single files and sponge-bathe behind curtains. Every night Mother points to the moon and says at least the moon remains unchanged.
Brother Quang has been teaching Ha English, and he says in order for a noun to be plural, add an s, even if there is one already at the end.
The cowboy mainly brings food that is wrapped in plastic or canned. The cowboy brought a bucket of chicken. Although the cowboy likes the food Ha and her family don't. The family is used to fresh-killed chicken that eat grains and worms, which grows tight in texture, smelling of meadows and tasting sweet.
Out the Too-High Window
The neighborhood is clean, quiet, and consist of mats of grass are in front of every house, lonely sidewalks and vast windows.
The cowboy found a house for Ha and her family, and pays three months ahead. Mother couldn't believe his generosity until Brother Quang tells her that the American government gives money to sponsors, to ease the guilt of losing the war. Mother says to be grateful, even for the things Ha isn't fond of: the pink sofas, green chairs, plastic cover on a table, stained mattresses, old clothes, and unmatched dishes.
Neigh Not Hee
Ha is now registered for school. When she walks to school she turns right where flowers big as dinner plates grow strangely blue. Turn left where purple fluffy wands grow on tall bushes. On the way home Ha asks if she could go on his horse, however Mr. Johnston doesn't have a horse and he has never ridden one either.