“They Shot Momma”


A short narrative fiction relating Hmong-American struggles with Black-American struggles and trying to connect young Hmong mentalities to Black activism.

This is a light draft that needs heavy refinement but released early in the wakes of current events. Excuse the poor syntax and format, but consider the ideas and empathetical relations.


My Momma is beautiful
She stands petite with brown eyes, like the Earth of her village in Laos
Her hair stale, from the long days she’s spent on the hillside farms
And her struggle through wars, beautifies her humble composure
She loves Hmong poetic songs, that I can’t understand
But I understand her laughter, when she hears Kwm Txhiaj
She can relate to their unfortunate events, not like the place here
Where she misses dinner sometimes, so she can cater to my siblings and I
We didn’t have to grow up hungry, only sheltered
Because Momma loved me and she didn’t let me see her struggle
Since Dad left for another woman, I haven’t seen him since
I want my Momma to be happy, she says she’s happy with just us
So I’m on my way to college, so I can make her happy too
But Momma had no money to send me and couldn’t get a job, so she asked around
She told me she will be gone for a few weeks, she is working a seasonal job
I went off to a local college and had a job, I realized Momma loved me well
I didn’t realize the struggle, that Momma had growing up
She would come back after several weeks, and give me money
I always told her “no”, that I had my own money
It was little, but that’s all I needed
I asked her to spoil herself, even if we’re poor
She was beautiful, and she deserved it
She foraged the hills for a contract company, she was such a hard worker
I couldn’t give her anything, but assure her I’d learn and finish someday
She’d leave again, to make money for us
But one day I got a call, from a distant Uncle
He told me, “They shot Momma”
I had no words, I didn’t understand

You see, I didn’t know
Momma was trimming in the mountains, and when the owners would leave
She insisted to keep trimming, so she could make more
They trusted her hard work, so they let her stay while they left for the city
They gave her a pistol, and said that there’s no one up these mountains
That you can trust coming up that gate, so hold onto this
Keep it close, just in case
That night Momma was alone, Momma was laying down after twenty hours of trimming
She heard cars approaching the gate and she clung on the pistol
She was afraid, because the owners always called before they approached
Momma heard quick footsteps and saw countless flashes of lights, she was so afraid
But she was curious and strong, so she stepped outside of the shack
Clinging onto the pistol, and her thoughts of me
Her heart beating so fast, opening that door
Her eyes light up countering the lights of many cars and flashlights
Thirteen men, military grade rifles, trained to maim and detain
One yelled, “Freeze! Put down the gun!”
Momma didn’t speak any English, she never learned
She was an old frail woman with gray in her hair
Momma froze, so alone and scared
Momma lost her thought, too afraid and unable to respond
“Put down the gun, I’m not asking you again!”
Momma became conscious for a split second, realizing she was holding the pistol
Looked at it, looked back at them, and realized what was going on
She twitched, attempting to drop the gun, the last thought she ever had in this lifetime
Forty-seven shots total, in a thirty second transaction
They executed Momma

They didn’t have to shoot Momma, she was misunderstood
Momma was frail and naive, she didn’t know how a gun works
Momma would never hurt anyone, she would feed a stranger if they came by
Momma could never understand the complications of politics
Momma just wanted to feed her babies
Momma just wanted me to have a good life and go to college
They shot Momma
These nights I don’t hear her radio with Kwm Txhiaj before bed, her laughter
The days she wakes up early to cook before I head to school, is now empty with echos of her voice in my head
So at this moment, I stand on the roads of the capital
And the streets of my neighborhood, with the voice to anchor change
With many others like me, and the skin I wear
The city struggles to listen, while others fail to understand
They claimed Momma was a drug pusher, a criminal
It hurts me, but I won’t stop fighting for change
Momma doesn’t even know what drugs are
Momma was innocent, Momma was just scared
Momma didn’t have to die, silenced
They want me to move to the sidewalks, in the parking lots of convenience
So I could be silenced, and waited out
But I will not be silenced, my voice will be heard
Trigger happy cops, forty-seven shots, instant incrimination
These things must change
My Momma didn’t deserve to die
They shot Momma

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