Lien Thuy Nguyen

Skinny and white haired since his thirties
he sat beside the sewing machine
the only source of income for the family.
Mother sat looking out at the street
longing for customers to pick up their clothes
so there would be some money
to buy food for the family,
school supplies for us.

Untitled by Samara Martinez

Father often told us,
“I won’t get old and weak,
I won’t forget or get confused.
I will take care of this family
until all my children stop needing me.”

And it was as he said.
He worked till he was in his sixties
when we no longer depended
on that source of income.
That was when we could go out
to battle the challenges and to work ourselves,
to live on our own,
and to build our own families.

Now we all remember our Father,
old, strong, rarely forgetful or confused.
Well into his eighties,
he is happy, surrounded by grandchildren.
As long as he is happy, Mother is happy
and we are well content.
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