Survival Through Invisibility

Laura Nhem
1 min readAug 21, 2020


A poem about being a child of war survivors and growing up in Canada.

Our parents were conditioned to be invisible.
Speak too loud. Get shot.
Look too beautiful. Get raped.
Be different. You’re dead.

We were conditioned to be invisible.
In public, touch nothing, bother no one.
At home, I’m too tired and stressed to be bothered by you.
When visiting someone, wait quietly, be polite.

Work hard.
Don’t speak up.
Ask for nothing.
We don’t matter to them.

Society says
You don’t resemble us
You are not invisible.
This does not work here.



Laura Nhem

2nd Gen Canadian. Decorator in the Montreal tv & film industry. One-time podcaster. Life is absurd.