A Poem for ESL Students

Got a lovely note from an ESL teacher this morning, asking for permission to distribute and teach my poem, “Homesick,” to her class. She’d seen it when I was posting about the South Asia Institute‘s “Testimonies on Paper,” exhibit.

I particularly love the idea of ESL students encountering this poem, and hopefully finding it resonant with their own experiences.

Let me give blanket permission now to any teachers — please feel free to teach any of my poems, distribute them to your classes, etc. Maybe someday I’ll publish a poetry collection, but please don’t wait for that, and even if I do, you’re still more than welcome to print and distribute single poem copies to your classes.

Permanent link to the poem here: https://maryannemohanraj.com/homesick/



The problem with going deep
is that you can fall in.
You find yourself reheating
frozen food, a pale imitation
of the real thing. Making
other dishes over and over
trying to remember
decades-old cinnamon
in the nose, lime on the tongue,
chili heat lingering on your lips —
a pain that you seek out repeatedly.

Sometimes you think your heart
can’t take it; it would be easier
to order pizza instead. Who
doesn’t love melted cheese?

Yet here you are, microwaving
frozen hoppers that you keep
stashed in the basement
deep freeze. Hoarded for
those days when you need
them, even if it hurts.


Mary Anne Mohanraj

July 12, 2017

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