this is for mẹ

I had a calm come over me that felt so right, I was in my motherland, and I was about to become a mom. I remember saying to myself that no matter what, these girls will be my legacy.
Dear Sweet Baby, / I thought of you last night. / Your memory hit me with / A pierce and an ache, / And I sobbed longingly for you. Deep belly crying, / The kind that howls. / Three years ago today / I found out that after 13 weeks of carrying you, / I had lost you.
The first time I read On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous, I got off the bus three stops early and cried outside of a 7-Eleven. So, when Ocean Vuong came to Seattle for a collaborative event hosted by the Seattle Public Library and The Elliott Bay Book Company, I knew I had to attend.
I was only a child when the war began / Just six years old when they came for a “meeting” / I saw Ma tremble as Ba ran to hide / He squeezed behind the armoire, “Hush, my child” / The space was so narrow, “Don’t say a word” / Something was wrong, I’d never seen him there before
There is a lot of conversation around inherited trauma. They are so very real. We’ve lived with them and through them. But I wanted to also cradle our inherited strength in our other hands, holding them side by side as a reminder that we are given this very strength that will walk us through the trauma.
I try out the words in context, the way she used to—or at least the way I remember she used to. Family must Hy Sinh for each other. Mother has experienced so much Khó Khăn. You must Chịu Khó in order to be successful. […]