Where are you from?

Swirls of bright reds, greens, blues, purples, and pinks
Dance against the black fabric
Embroidered in secret hieroglyphics
That we can no longer decipher
Beautiful and elegant but lost
Like much of our history and native tongue

Green hides our history in the mountains we used to breathe
It was the last thing we turned to admire
Before we were forced to abandon it forever
Everything green is supposed to be familiar
Yet this green I know of seems so foreign
And the green that only exists through memory is where I yearn to be

Red blood paints the land we used to walk
And floods the Mekong River to remind us
Of those who lost their lives
The forest permanently stained red
From the blood our soldiers, families, friends
And strangers we couldn’t save

Blue is the sky and river that gave us false hope
As we faithfully prayed to the protectors above
Our homes were burned, bodies violated, history lost
The raging Mekong gave us a second chance
But our existence was washed away with the river
A second chance given at the cost of our identity

Purple tints the skin of our people with trauma
That we cannot escape even oceans away
It lives on the surface of our descendants
And bruises each soul with generational trauma
Purple silences us of unspeakable horrors
But reminds us to move through the world with pride

Pink holds the fragile parts of us that still remain
It is our liver that we use to feel love and happiness
It is our lips that form an unbreakable smile
That reminds us of the strength of our people
It is our native tongue resistant to assimilation
That persists to keep our history alive

Reds, greens, blues, purples, and pinks weave effortlessly
Into story cloths that encapsulates a small part of our history
Unlike story cloths that exists inside the borders
My people live beyond borders with resilience
I am from a long line of warriors, fighters, survivors
My identity is carried within me
Not attached to a piece of land

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