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Diana Khoi Nguyen, Age 8

Diana Khoi Nguyen’s poems appear in Poetry, American Poetry Review, PEN America, and The Iowa Review. This letter was written in 1993.

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— Diana Khoi Nguyen, Age 8

Diana Khoi Nguyen

“As a child, in addition to reading voraciously, I loved watching television—not just cartoons, but action/cop shows with my father. As the eldest child, I was well aware of how much my parents desperately longed for a son. My brother Oliver wasn’t born until 1990, and before then, it was my younger and sister and me. To have a son was a good thing, a lucky thing, a much desired thing—and I remember wishing I had been born a boy so that I could be something desired by my parents. I don’t remember writing this letter at all, nor do I remember who ‘Alexander’ is—but I do remember wishing I wasn’t a girl, so it makes sense that I would be acutely aware of the differences in gender in the tv shows that I watched. 2016 Diana agrees with 1993 Diana: ‘Why don’t the people made [girls] be smarter?’ ”