Poetry / March 2012 (Issue 16)


by Meg Eden

mom is in a polar bear ensemble,
jackie kennedy smile, her body
a tattered fur coat. she blames
the stares on my blue socks.

no, mother—they are looking at
your head of blonde, dad’s jutting
beard. they are looking because
we are white.

I am in a school girl skirt, wind
biting my thighs; she can’t understand.

with the cold she becomes
snapping, heels clicking;
she walks into a store she
can't read the name of.

down the market, I am found
gazing over plastic goods, the interested
American. a vendor woman offers a price
and I say no. no, she cannot
accept, taking my wrist like an octopus,

and I see the parents, continuing on
unaware. I call, but they do not hear.

then mom, the superwoman returns—
snatching my other wrist. I am a chicken-
bone, and once I am won, mom
frowns at my disruption.

when we have escaped, she tells me:
pretend you are the queen. hold
your chin up
. but I think,
I don’t want to be the queen. I want
to be the child in burlap on the side
of the road, because only then could
I understand why this woman
needed to touch a stranger, all hoping
for another dollar.
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
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All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.