Broken English


I was formed by broken words.

“Broken English,” my mother called it.

But to me, it was just how Dad spoke.


He’d come home from hours at the factory.

“I have faith on you,” he’d say.

Before my big tests he’d remind me,

“No one is more better than you.”


And I would study.

Unbroken English was my best subject.

I carried my books like the pains of my father,

tied tightly in a knapsack slung over my shoulders.

“You are the champion,” Dad would tell me, as he left for work.


“Boa noite filho.” (Good Night, Son)

My father would hug me as he went to bed,

My textbooks stacked and my eyelids heavy.

I wonder what time it was in my father’s homeland,

The night they told him he had to leave?


Unbroken English became my gift to dad.

He was the first person I called when I got into college.

“I never doubt on you for even a second” he said.

He took me to my favorite restaurant.

We exchanged teary-eyed hugs.


Before I leave for Law School in Chicago, I will hold my father’s hand,

Just as he held mine when I learned how to walk, 21 years ago.

“You are the greatest,” I will tell him.

“I couldn’t have done it without your faith in me,

I am proud to be your son.”


I was formed by broken words

“Broken English,” my mother called it.

But to me, it was just how Dad spoke.



This poem is about: 
My family


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