Asian Parent Standards, et al

Asian Parent Standards

My mother tells me

A good boyfriend

Should be 5 foot 9 –Dad’s height-

At the very least

A minimum 2300 on SATs

Speak two languages, know how to fight and study

To be a doctor, lawyer, engineer;

And be Chinese because everybody knows

White people have big noses; subjugate minorities

And Koreans beat their women

And don’t even get me started on the

Japanese and the hei ren and Josés

Go out with them

Get out of family-

Do you want to give your poor old grandma a heart attack?

A Chinese man is honest hardworking

Good-looking, ambitious

Mature and smart

A man like your father-

A Chinese man will bring you happiness-

And what about love? I ask

My mother looks away

For a minute

Before answering

What about it?

Wish upon A

Suspended in air

like stars in space, bright

translucent creatures from the moon

wiggling their tentacles

back and forth

swimming through an ocean

of dark matter

they creep, majestically

silently- avoiding all, hunters and hunted alike

can’t they fly? Floating

glowing jellies in space,

waving hellos and goodbyes

at satellites and pet dogs

discarded engines and fuel cartridges orbiting slowly

forever caught in gravity’s grasp

only the moon jellyfish, elegantly piercing the stars as they wiggle through meteorites

eternally dancing

to the slow hum of the universe shrinking and expanding

Every night I ask them

what stars are made of

reach up for a sting of their pale, alien knowledge

only to have them whisper back

not yet, you’re not meant to know

before bursting into lights and falling

upwards into the sky


If I were a boy

I would learn karate and kung-fu and boxing

and the art of ass-kicking

wear animal print boxers

and heavy metal band tees-

suits and ties when ordained-

eat half my weight

in fried chicken and
I wouldn’t buy lipstick, mascara,

dresses with summery floral prints,

or worry about getting pregnant
or a pimple

or anything at all

and everything would be so damn easy-

If I were a boy
I could walk myself home

on dark moonless nights

open my own doors

to the future and
talk to my father

about things

only sons understand-

convince him he doesn’t regret

the abortion that shouldn’t have

but was

because sometimes two heads

just aren’t always better than one.

Nancy Wei
Age 17, Grade 12
Hunter College High School
Silver Key

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