Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

The Question — Whitney Hu

Every year, at the party,
her bejeweled hand of gaudy rings snakes out
and grabs me by my upper arm before steering me
towards her gaggle of menopausal Chinese women. “You know Chinese now?”
One asks and when
I shake my head, they start clucking at me. “You go to college?” I nod and they
smile, their heads bobbing.
“You become doctor?” I shake my head, that damn clucking ensues.
The one with draw-on eyebrows looks at me. “You have boyfriend?”
I shake my head, and the women begin to speak in fast Chinese.
The grip on my arm becomes a vice as they phrase their best advice.
“Find good Chinese boy.”

They pat me on the arm as the one with replica eyebrows
offers me a sympathetic smile before taking leave.

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