Texture Poems

Yesterday, my history professor ordered me to stay after class and then apologized to me. “We are sorry for everything that we did. Vietnam was such a beautiful place with beautiful people.” I shifted awkwardly, unsure if this was the beginning or the end of the conversation.

Textures of April 30th

I didn't expect to be challenged by a history I had long preferred not to think about: that so many people we eventually lived alongside in Australia had initially celebrated our demise.
Through my parents’ repeated retellings of their stories, with the same tones, rhythms, inflections, and unreconcilable non-endings, I realized that beyond being a ubiquitous source for survival, water, or nước, was also personally symbolic for my parents.
Dear Mom, I’m writing to apologize that 24 years passed before we hosted a Đám Giỗ for you. Although it took me so long to invite you home, that ceremony shifted my relationship with you, your life and your death.
And yet: I encounter discomfiting truths here, within and outside of myself. How I have for years longed to come back, felt some piece of me missing for not reckoning with the Vietnam that was left behind, and then to come back and have to admit the ways I still feel I do not belong.
A submission call for "texture poems" from the Vietnamese diaspora, in commemoration of the 44th anniversary of April 30, 1975. This year on diaCRITICS, we wish to reflect on this day in terms of both the past and the present. We would like to consider “textures” of diasporic experience that have since been gathered, created, collected and re-collected, imagined and re-imagined, since that historic day in 1975.