I was always frightened like a bird and shaken up like a child crisscrossing through the wars.
I was beaten up like a criminal and worked up like a slave.
I feared the nights and was scared of the days.
I lived a life in fear and of destitute.
Happiness was never a part of my experiences.
I scavenged the piles throughout the days in hope of luck.
Never had enough to eat; hunger and thirst never left me.
I worked in trenches and scanned through the days for food.
I crawled the nights away in hope of finding a golden sack that snuck away in fields.
How I feared and dreaded the death of my own soul in the dark and lonesome ghostly nights.
I worked and worked and worked all kinds. I could never mind any sweatshop.
I painted my own portrait out of my tears from the sufferings.
I cried until my soul fell asleep; and my own life pitied on my existence.
Neak Oknha Mengly J. Quach, MD, MPH