“Addiction” — Michelle Robin La

We are happy to announce that six poets have been shortlisted for Cha‘s “Addiction” Poetry Contest. The results will be announced in Issue 33 of the journal, due out in late September 2016. [See other shortlisted poems.]

Michelle Robin La’s “Smoking a Pot of Gold”



My husband’s mother struggled to raise ten children in Vietnam while caring for her ailing father-in-law, all the while knowing her father-in-law spent his fortune on opium instead of helping them. She probably didn’t realise the children overheard her talking with her sister as she washed clothes. My husband imagined his grandfather’s barrel of opium as a pot of gold, and I envisioned what a child would have thought hearing this story as clothes swished around a wash tub. To my husband and his siblings, their grandfather seemed like a ghost upstairs they tried to avoid. Like gold that could have been theirs, children wonder at stories they hear about what a family member was like before addiction took over.


Michelle Robin La is the author of Catching Shrimp with Bare Hands: A Boy from the Mekong Delta, the true story of her husband growing up in the midst of the Vietnam War and his struggle for freedom after the Communist takeover. “Unconditional Surrender: April 30, 1975”, an excerpt from this book, was featured in The Missing Slate. Her work has appeared in Brain, Child Magazine, Cha, Creative Nonfiction, Literary Mama, and Mom Egg Review. Michelle and her husband have three children and live in Santa Barbara, CA. She blogs about her culturally-blended life at michellerobinla.com.


One thought on ““Addiction” — Michelle Robin La

  1. Pingback: Asian Cha | Smoking a Pot of Gold - Michelle Robin La

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s