my siblings had
birth certificates once
official documents
with stamps, seals,
signatures, and actual dates
not just the typical
year, month, and maybe
day of the week
memorized by
Khmer grandmothers

my father had one made
for each child after their birth
in anticipation of a future
of city living
of city employment
but the papers would have been
on a collective farm
could have looked like
subversive material
to suspicious rural comrades

my mother used them
to roll
her cigarettes


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