May 18 ● BY Kyra Scrimgeour
My brother says his next tattoo will read Made in China,
even though he wasn’t. He tells people his birth name
is Ching Chong, which is a lie, and that he can’t speak
any language fluently except for English, which is true.
He says he doesn’t remember Ho Chi Minh’s
mausoleum, doesn’t remember staring
at a wax man while our parents murmured
never seen a corpse, but I do. Dylan was small
enough to be carried, but I, five years old and fluorescing
in my white skin, had to hold hands with a người lính
whose face I couldn’t see but whose gun I could.
In that place, where incense and độ ẩm hung in the air
like curtains, fingers whispered across my shoulders, through
my hair, and the people called me may mắn. Good luck. No one
looked at my new brother, the thrown away son
being adopted into a throwaway culture. He says he doesn’t
remember. Now, when I boil nước mắm for a noodle bowl
in our apartment, he won’t eat it because it smells
like cat piss. He will eat spaghetti with a fork,
even though his fingers are as nimble with chopsticks as
they are with guitar strings and video game controllers.
I will swallow spoonfuls of fish sauce, watch as he guides
his Caucasian avatar to the slaughter of Vietcong
in a digital jungle and ask why he always plays that one.
He will say nothing. Lips cocked into a smirk, he will look
away from his screen only long enough to shrug.