Today's poem is by Karen An-hwei Lee


My body isn't shaped like a violin, said the girl.
Curve in my hip isn't deep enough, profundo.

One blue world, my curve vanishes.
You aren't a violin, said her mother.

Curve of my body holds no water.
No invisible meridians, the hours, divide it.

My body isn't a cup for a pear blossom, said the girl.
My hips hold neither fruit nor rain. Succo dolce.

You are not a pear blossom, said her mother.
You are not a cup to drink.

My body isn't a pomegranate or bell, said the girl.
I am not studded with crimson seeds or a clapper.

Your body is neither flora, fauna, nor brass.
You are not a mountain range. Our voices,

ringing as one, are not the boat-laden rivers.
We are neither rain nor snow. Speak. I am

my mother's daughter, four summers old.
I am a strong girl, fourteen summers.

Who is my father? Where is this man
to invoke a girl's image of noon?

Now a woman of forty years opens this letter
without the pressure of metaphors

invoking paternal shadows,
absent figures of speech, veritas.

Copyright © 2012 Karen An-hwei Lee All rights reserved
from Phyla of Joy
Tupelo Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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