An Uong

An Uong is a writer living in New England and Los Angeles. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Catapult, Eater, Roads and Kingdoms, Winter Tangerine, Wildness by Platypus Press, and elsewhere. She can’t say no to a bowl of bún bò Huế. Find her online: @anuonganuong.



My mother and I grew comfortable with the ease of our recycling routine, like how the lids gently flipped open to reveal the potential of money. We didn’t notice the patrol car crawling toward us one day until the police officer tapped on my mother’s shoulder, clearing his throat.

West Side Recycling was a windowless cavern of abandoned metal and purchased recyclables. It was painted in three fat stripes of red, white and blue that encircled the squat building. In the distance, Griffith Park’s hills looked like a movie backdrop: crisp, never-ending, ready to swallow. The strip of sidewalk in front of the building was often filled with people dividing recyclables into aluminum, glass or plastic.