The Rooster ~ a story by Brittany Pham

Every time I visit home, my mother cooks a steaming vat of bún thang, the Vietnamese chicken noodle soup originating from Hanoi. It’s a two-day marathon of simmering the broth to the right ratio of savory and sweet. Meanwhile, she prepares the toppings: shredded chicken, thin strips of chả lụa, and meticulously diced egg crepes. Bún thang has a reputation for being simple in its ingredients and preparation, but it’s fussy in a subdued way. The precision of the knife, knowing just when to flip the egg, the rhythm of hand-tearing meat from bone. 

My Father and the River

“Be patient,” he said, as if he could hear my thoughts. “You need to understand what I’m about to say, okay?”

Brothers and Ghosts

We were ready to be anything—except who we were. There was no place for us in nineties Germany.

Yellow Kodak Dream

My first love gave me his yellow Kodak M35 before he moved, as if he knew we’d never see each other again. I told him no, I wasn’t taking that. He said that he had too much to bring with him anyway, and I accepted that half-ass excuse.

>which oyster sauce

I used to be embarrassed by the faded and slightly sticky blue linoleum. / By that accidental smell made by the neighboring bottles of spices and sauces / that shouldn’t be combined. / By the overly general name: ASIA MART. / They’re more welcoming now.

In a Grossly Boring Town

I recognise these glassy dull eyeballs. They used to be mine.