photo by Kevin Rogers 

photo by Kevin Rogers 

Murmur is a four-part (tetralogy) hybrid work in which I explore my body as a body of research. I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a heart defect for which active research is approximately as old as me. In 2010, to prevent heart failure, I underwent a second open-heart surgery, this time a heart valve replacement. My new heart valve was made twenty miles from my childhood home by immigrant women, many of them Asian American, some of them refugees. Their experiences resemble my own mother’s who is an Indo-Chinese emigrant.

Drawing on research and personal experience, Murmur is a prose poem in which I, the speaker, cite cross-disciplinary academic research and primary sources including political speeches, letters, poetry, interviews, and memory to find aspects of my body within bodies of research: the self in medical history, the self in family history, the self as a healthcare advocate, and the self’s biracial existence.  

One of the primary goals of Murmur is to generate more nuanced discussion about American healthcare. Neither explicit critique, nor informative guide to immediate discussions about private and public healthcare, by making visible the immigrant labor within the biotechnology industry, and connecting it to my own family history and work as a healthcare advocate, I aim to highlight the variety of American experiences of the healthcare system, and to empower folks like me to shift the current, polarizing discussions about American healthcare to more nuanced considerations and conversations across party lines, politicians, neighbors, and friends. 

Murmur has received support from The Asian American Writer's Workshop, The Millay Colony, Yaddo, and Edwards Lifesciences. Thank you for giving me the time and space to continue developing this work.