by Jenny Hykes Jiang
about these things do they call things Chinese—
checkers, Chinese handcuffs, Chinese fire drill,
Chinese jump rope. Does Chinese just mean weird?
Once a girl pulled her eyes into taut slits.
She was young. Her younger sisters laughed so
she called her sister chink. I can’t explain
or remember any reason why.
Only how it felt good to stretch my skin.
We were in the bathtub. We were that small.
A girl sings My mother’s Chinese, my father’s
Japanese, and look what happened to me.
Her baby coos, presses his finger
tips, signs yao. He cries more.
Raised in rural Iowa, Jenny Hykes Jiang is a mother, poet, and educator in Northern California. Her poetry has appeared in several journals including Arts & Letters, Little Patuxent Review, and Chestnut Review. She has also delivered sermons and written liturgy for Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California.