The Pacific

Blue upon blue: the morning horizon unfolded the blue vellum into the sky and the sea. There, I looked, in my innocent youth, beyond the ocean, to catch sight of a home inside the gleaming dawn. There, as my mother reminded me, there is where you are meant to be; it is there, your family lives; not here, in this town of red-stained soil, inside a country, whose name conjures images of green paddies trembling between the silenced flickers of helicopters’ blades. It will be there, my mother promised, I will soon be home.

pacific chess board made by artist Tri Ngo from cherry, walnut and maple wood, displaying on wall

Contrivance Five: Pacific
Maple, Walnut, and Cherrywood
24 x 24 inches

The sea folded into the sky: I took flight, to nestle into the embrace of my grandmother, alongside family members whose faces I knew only from the black-and-white photographs taken before the fall of Saigon. It was here, in the city with a Golden Gate, in the land beyond the silver lining, I looked for the home once promised. However, the house I found was incomplete: for here, among the vinyl sidings with glass windows and green manicured lawns, is only half a house; while there, back across 170,000,000 cubic miles of water, upon that red-stained soil, is another half, sheltering the family members I left behind. Only then did it dawn on me that my home exists not on any land; it floats without foundation and root; it drifts like a castle in the sky, with walls and roof spread across a sea.