Trinity Nguyen :: “There Are Roly Polies in My Monstera”

I thought about trashing it.
Like the other plants and flowers and exes 
I couldn’t save.

I bought a spray from Lowe’s, 
drowned them with filtered water
(per Google’s advice). 
Left traps with vinegar, sugar, hand soap 

all before dialing the phone number almost identical to mine.
She didn’t scold, 
didn’t click her tongue.
Just:  I’ll come up this weekend! It must be the organic soil!

Mom liked to say my monstera is Vietnamese.
Driving to Home Depots, scouring Facebook Marketplace, Yelping plant nurseries, 
all because I wanted one.
We found it in a Vietnamese home owned by a Vietnamese gardener who grows Vietnamese plants (and monsteras). 

She drove thirty-five minutes 
not afraid of the 405N, 
taking the monstera, dropping off phở, and whispering 
I love you 
before leaving.


Trinity Nguyen is a queer Vietnamese American author writing about messy diaspora kids and their messier immigrant families. She’s a recent graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, where she studied political science and economics. Trinity currently resides in Southern California with her cat. Her words have been featured in magazines and journals and can be found at She is represented by BookEnds Literary Agency.