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Ông Bà


Because I do not know you, and I cannot see you

I want to ask a million questions

and hear a million stories…

How was your childhood?

Do you forgive your homeland?

What were your aspirations before war?

on Sundays,

my palms exude sweat from my firmly clasped hands

I compress my eyes and pray a little harder

to summon you

You never answer me.

For you, I hopelessly cling

to my belief in the supernatural.

Perhaps one day,

your apparition will appear

before my poor eyes

and tell me all I wish to know.

Can you hear my thoughts?

Or should I ask you out loud?

I am a story that begins in the middle,

a jigsaw with a thousand missing pieces, longing to assemble myself.

Help me solve this messy equation

I have not seen you in a decade

and I cannot see you for any decades more

You are a stranger that resides in me

first in my thoughts

then in the blood running through my arteries

that will stream till the day we meet again

at same ground-level

that day, you will tell me

that day, I will become whole.

I want to know you

so I can know myself

Do you know me?

Can you see me now?


I am selfish in the fact that I refuse to believe in your thesis because the thought of you becoming someone else after you leave me for good makes me sick

and that when you aren’t there, next to me or a phone call away, you are somewhere else in the world, reincarnated, you are someone else’s grandmother – perhaps I’ve got it all wrong and you are neither grand nor a mother, maybe you are a little boy or a father

but all that matters now is that you are within my grasp, in my world, where I can observe you praying at Buddha’s feet, at your altar of oranges, where burning incense fumes fade into the atmosphere and become one with the unseen

as you do the same.

Editors: Chris F, Charlotte C, Joyce S

Photo Credits: Sheldon Liu

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