I filed this entry under Writing, but I could easily have filed in under Travel. We visited Vietnam a few years ago. It provided background for a part of Leaving Lisa that took place there, but there was far more in the country not used for that story. One was our visit to a Catholic church. We were killing time, on the way back from Ha Long Bay, and our guide suggested we see the Church. The building was fascinating with the Asia treatment of at Catholic theme.
But far more interesting was what the nuns operated there. It was a home for unmarried mothers. There were just a few girls. Girls were what they were, so young to be mothers. They had their babies with them. We were smitten and wanted to take one girl and her baby home with us. It was a pipe dream, but Ellen and I still think about it.
I wrote the following poem about one of the young mothers:
Young Asian girl in your Baby Girl jumpsuit,
So bright eyed and eager,
So young and innocent,
Touched by hurt yesterday,
So unprepared for the hurt ahead.
Was it your brown eyes, with one slightly glancing away
That drew him to you?
What is that flaw that made you love him for loving you?
He went away.
He did not know. Work ended. Where he is, you do not know.
He left you with a part of him,
That now wriggles and coos in the hammock beside you.
You found your way here,
Where the nun took you in.
Girls like you, nurse their little ones beside them,
Their new little ones, the only family they have,
Serene and safe in the basement rooms beneath the church.
The future waits for another day.
Today you are warm and safe.
You are happy and smile the smile of young innocence.
Take care young Asian girl in your Baby Girl jumpsuit.