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I Am From by Hang Luu

I am from a motorbike, helmet, and toxic emission

From the land of broken rice with tasty grilled pork rib for breakfast,plus, iced

tea for free and a calming smile of the street vendor

I am from a house built from every penny that my mom saved day-by-

daysince she was half of my age, without wasting on beautiful dresses or

luxury vacations.

A plain white 3-story house with the balcony and windows are also white,

The fence is covered by the color of rust but still nicely decorated

by tiny yellow and red flowers dropping from above

I am from blue, navy, and silver glitter in thousands of waves and schools of

fish,

From the annoying but lively sound of motorboats, creaking heavily in my

mind about the days on an isolated island,

Not a little sign of loneliness, only peaceful gentle inhales and exhales

instead

I am from a simple yet happy family,

We were not wealthy in the pockets, but our hearts were full of sunlights I

am from the Luu and Nguyen’s families

After my dad left with melanoma in his stomach,

I am the only child proudly inheriting his last name

I am from the heartful sympathy and empathy for less fortunate people

Following my parents’ advice that I should be kind

I am from pale skin, black hair, and a body that only fits an extra small size

From the belief that all religions teach people to live unselfishly: we came to

life and just let the winds blow our worries away.

I am from Saigon, the “Pearl of the Orient” before Vietnam was unified.

I am from the instant noodles with a few thin slices of beef that my

mom hurriedly prepared every morning.

From the story in which my parents were the main characters,

When my dad boarded next to my mom’s home, his landlord said to her,

“He’s a good man. Marry him.”

A mystery of love that I would never understand

I am from the tradition of gathering on the first day of the Lunar New Year at

my grandparents’ house, greeting each other, and receiving lucky

money.

But no more, for my grandparents both died last year, while Saigon was

lockdown due to Covid-19.

I am from old albums with black and white photos of my ancestors and

family members,

And of shiny beloved faces in happy shades.

My mom carefully keeps them in the cupboards, which sometimes get stuck

But the images, voices, and sounds of those days forever stay within me

though I am

far away.


Artwork

A small sculpture of an angel by Hang Luu.
A sculpture of a white clay angel holding a gold star.

About the Artist/Author

A first-year student at Mission College, Hang Luu is interested in drawing, writing, cooking, and other hands-on activities. She comes from Vietnam and has been living in Milpitas since January of 2019.