Where I’m From

I am from electric scooters,

from Vespa, and the tropical taste of sweat

I am from the Spiral stair case

wooden, creaky, and full of possibilities

I am from the Jack fruit tree,

the gallant, majestic tree whose fruits could kill if fallen at just the right angle.

I am from the mosquito nets and inappropriate bed time stories,

from Bac Tu and Ong and Me Chau.

I am from the sharing everything we have and eating only what we can,

from “we are poor, but our lives are rich”and “when I win the lottery…”.

I’m from the Buddhist chants in the morning and the Hail Marys at night.

I’m from Vietnam, from the city of Saigon, from Pho and foggy glasses.

From my grandma’s frown at my time of our departure,

And my mother’s tears when we missed her funeral.

I am from second-hand comic books, and scented erasers,

from Barbies on displays and window shopping,

from the fresh outdoor market and the chants of food vendors.


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