All posts filed under: Poetry


Written by: Janit Von Saechao In pristine-white Portland, I am seen as progressive for being a person with brown skin yet privy to this piece of my identity. What they don’t know is that when I say, “My name is Janit Saechao and my pronouns are she/they.” I mean She, as in We We, the ones assigned women while given no words for otherwise. We, as in all the non-men who have wondered which is the better way to survive– to silence ourselves for centuries of tradition or to speak our truths and risk our lives. They, as in Us They, as in those who came before me. They, as in all my ancestors who listened to Their own hearts and trusted Their own beings. They are my chain smoking Khmu aunties in Laos who puff tobacco through hand rolled cigarettes, laughing on the sides of dusty Luang Prabang roads at the colonizers with cameras who won’t leave Them alone. They are my single Mien femmes in America making more money than all the men …

The Potomac is not the Mekong

The Potomac is not the Mekong. If I close my eyes, I don’t see eagles on the hunt Soaring over a river The color of muted grey clouds. I see fishermen below, Their bamboo rafts floating On a sunset’s golden reflection, The river shining and flowing Between me and Nong Khai. I smell not Wet pavement And overpriced steak But the aromatic pungent smell Of padaek glazed grilled duck Sold for 15,000 kip. If I cover my ears I don’t hear the deafening rush Of trafficked destined cars On Woodrow Wilson Bridge But the harmonic chanting Of Wat Sop’s saffron monks. I hear the sputtering motorbikes Of young lovers Riding through empty roads, Leaving echoes of laughter And clouds of dust In their wake At dusk. The Potomac is not the Mekong Just another chapter, Some river, In a once empty book. ~~ In A.Ou’s own voice: