I've heard the jokes.
An Asian woman in a white-washed country,
they ask me how disappointed my parents were,
if I "brought shame upon my famiry"
if they tried to lose me in an alley,
or down a flight of stairs.
"That's the Chinese," I answer meekly,
though I'd like to both ignore them
and lose them down the stairs,
"who only want sons.
Women are worth a lot
in my culture."
I enjoy the surprise,
the occasional murmurs of approval.
What I don't say,
is that women are worth more
the way gold is worth more than silver.
When I was young,
a woman was beaten for being caught
smiling to a man
who was not her cheating husband.
He left her, shamed and broken,
and my mother told me
not to laugh too loudly,
or stand too proudly,
and to never be friends with boys.
we are not women.
We are daughters, wives,
like livestock, already fated,
born to be sold, born to be bred,
born to live and die,