Updated: Feb 19
I see my brown skin that identifies my race.
I see my dark hair that I run my fingers through when I’m daydreaming.
I see my upturned eyes with irises that can be as sweet as chocolate
or as jagged as the rocks upon which ships crash.
I hear my parents listening to the soft yet upbeat melodies of Khmer music
that floats from the speakers.
I hear my cousins and aunts and uncles at a party,
their voices raised to the point where they can no longer hear each other.
I hear the blend of Cambodian and English woven into conversations,
spoken as swift as lightning yet as gentle as rain tapping against the window.
I smell the freshly cooked rice that greets me when I visit my parents.
I smell the garlic and lemons and soy sauce,
scents that remind me that the best meals are home cooked.
I smell the smoke of the incense sticks after we’ve prayed to our ancestors
for health and happiness.
I taste the salmon that’s been cooked to perfection and melts in my mouth.
I taste the sticky rice topped with mangos and covered in coconut sauce.
I taste the salt in my tears from laughing with cousins
over childhood stories, arguing whose parents were stricter.
I feel the strength of our community when people see us
as less than human.
I feel the resilience of my ancestors coursing through my veins.
I feel the pride in being Asian American.
- Eric Nhem
Cover Photo Source: https://grantourismotravels.com/shrimp-fried-rice-with-shrimp-paste-recipe/