an uncle would come in and ask me to write up a paragraph of the latest chef’s specials / so I felt very fortunate to be able to write in our language when he asked / he’d point out my misspellings / and I’d have to reassure myself that they didn’t make me
any less of my parents’ child
My mother, still beautiful despite dark half circles under her eyes, tensed her petite body; she did not narrowly escape communist Vietnam as a boat person to have her only child talk to crazy people for a living.
There are two veterans in the family. Father, who wasn’t recognized as one, and my brother, who was born here and served in the U.S. military and is therefore formally recognized as one. The officially recognized veteran receives the benefits of the institution, and he understands that privilege he holds over the unrecognized.
diaCRITICS is a blog that showcases voices and stories from writers, artists and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora on and from all shores. We publish poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, visual art, and more. Our founding editor and publisher is Viet Thanh Nguyen. diaCRITICS is a project of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).