Poetry & Prose

Kitty, Your Culture Tides of Black and White


Bleak years you lived in black and white—
You held onto your culture like a way back home.
You’ve spent all your focus holding on to your roots,
and now you’ve lost who you’ve become.
Kitty, listen to me. Your culture tides of black and white,
but remember a thousand shades live within those lines.
So don’t worry if you prefer
the swinging suburban Californian lakes
over the twisting tourist Saigon river.
So Kitty, don’t hover—but seek beneath the waves,
and wash away the pines that are stifling you.
Start a life between these waters,
and I promise you’ll meet yourself.
Because always with you is a boat of memories
tattooed with the word “gia đình*”
in the shape of your skin.

*gia đình: “family” in Vietnamese