From the anthology A Love Letter to This Bridge Called My Back
Publication Date: 2022
Six years before the ground-breaking This Bridge Called My Back is published, I arrive from Việt Nam to a small town in Pennsylvania in 1975 as a refugee. I am almost 3, with a cut to my bangs that runs across my forehead like a bandit in an open field. Before this, I have no earlier memories of the country and the wars we left behind. We move soon after to San Jose, California in 1980 to take refuge in the sun and be a part of the economic boom taking place in Silicon Valley at the time. My siblings and father are low-paid laborers in high technology for most of my life, bringing work home to assemble on the weekends – motherboards encrusted with spikes and pins – and taking side jobs at manufacturing plants on their “off time.” Their clothes always smelling like industry by Friday. When I come to Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa’s anthology of Third World feminists and writers who sing laments and odes to community and collectivity, I am in graduate school, writing poetry part-time because while it sustains and feeds me, I am too busy trying to tame this new language called theory.