shot glass
Issue # 5 September 2011
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare


Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Chen-ou Liu emigrated to Canada in 2002 and settled in a suburb of Toronto, where he continues to struggle with a life in transition and translation. Chen-ou Liu is the author of two books: Ripples from a Splash: A Collection of Haiku Essays with Award-Winning Haiku and Following the Moon to the Maple Land (First Prize in the 2011 Haiku Pix Chapbook Contest).

Chen-ou Liu

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Lost in Transition and Translation

Over five years, I've learned
All the English words
An immigrant must know
For the sake of survival.
Later, I bulldozed
Those words to the ground
To make a new one: Home,
A word whose sound and shape
My parents don't recognize.
Now, I start to re-learn 家,
The word my parents
wrote on my palm
The day I left Formosa
For the land of maple leaves
Under the same bright moon.

1 - 家 is the Chinese word for home.
2 - Formosa, which means "beautiful island" in Portuguese, is the former name of Taiwan.