Linh Le

Linh is a Vietnamese-American queer woman who loves science, science fiction, and dogs. You can find her work in Rambutan Literary, Model View Culture, Femsplain, HelloGiggles, The Tempest, and Teen Vogue. She resides in the Bay Area and works in tech. Follow her on Twitter @linhtropy. Read her writing at linhle.contently.com.
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The Air in Vietnam
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I step off the plane

Wetness on my skin

I’m unsure if it’s from

Rain humidity or tears

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Heat pulses onto my skin

A steady heartbeat plays

Its cadence leads me

To my mother’s home

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The weight of my family history lies

Heavily atop my shoulders

Or is that just the palm tree’s breaths?

Both a burden and a gift

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Incense held in prayer hands

Its musky smoke twists tendrils in the air

I bow as the air envelopes me

My ancestors hold me

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For the briefest moment

A desperate moment

I am home.

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Thoughts Banished to the Ocean

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Standing on the shore

The waves playfully lick my toes

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The sea blue as glass

My mind is a buzzing storm

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Gray murky thoughts blur my vision

Wetness on my cheeks. My chest hurts.

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I tear the thoughts out of my head

Strand by strand until I’m bald

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Then stuff them into a glass bottle

Until the cork can barely close it

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I throw the cloudy vessel into the ocean

Sunlight glints off its arc, my heart pull towards the waves

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If what I wanted was to be rid of this

Then why do I feel so empty?

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Thunder is silenced as it breaks the glass

A phantom of the ocean floor under my feet

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The sea is calm

My head is a clear blue sky

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Thoughts always grow back

But for now I raise my face to the sun

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And feel at peace.

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