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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Nu Quang

The Small Matter of a Photograph

My adoptive father died when the Vietnam War was escalating. To pay respect, we hung his picture in the living room, facing outside, a tradition he had requested. Taken at an earlier age, it showed a self-assured man with short black hair, thin closed lips and a penetrating gaze. After the fall of Saigon, the authorities demanded that we replace it with a large image of Ho Chi Minh. "Sorry, Father," I said with tears in my eyes, "You have to go.’

monsoon rains
looking out on everyone
someone else’s father