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The Hmong Story Quilt

Mai Vang

The Hmong story quilt 
hangs framed against 
the white wall telling 
my history, my family's 
past. Stitched along 
the cloth's blue borders, 
light grey triangles 
representing the mountains,

my mother tells me. 
Vietnamese soldiers, 
stitched in green, set 
Hmong villages aflame 
in the upper right corner, 
the red stitches of 
fire a stark contrast 
against the beige 
rooftops. My gaze­ -
drawn by the curve 
and twist of the Mekong­ -

follows the river's 
path to the central 
scene of the quilt. 

The Hmong, stitched 
in black clothes, look

for refuge across the 
river. Half submerged

in water, their bodies 
float on pink, green, 
and brown makeshift

rafts. Crossing the river,

my mother tells me, 
was more dangerous 
than anything. 

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