Wonder Woman

Source: Unknown/Favim
Sometimes I see reflections on bits of glass on sidewalks
I catch the glimmer of empty bottles floating out to sea
Sometimes I stretch my arms way above my head and wonder if
There are women along the Mekong doing the same

Sometimes I state longingly at women who I will never know
Generous, laughing women with wrinkled cheeks and white teeth
Dragging along chubby, rosy-cheeked babies on fat, wobbly legs
sometimes I state at Chinese grandmothers
Getting on the 30  Stockton with shipping bags
Japanese women tourists in European hats
Middle-aged mothers with laundry carts
Young wives holding hands with their husbands
lesbian women holding hands in coffee-houses
Smiling debutantes with bouquets of yellow daffodils
Silver-haired matrons with silver rhinestoned poodles
Painted prostitutes posing along MacArthur boulevard
Giddy teenage girls snapping gum in fast cars
Widows clutching bibles, crucifixes

I look at them and wonder if
They are a part of me
I look in their eyes and wonder if
They share my dreams

I wonder if the woman in mink is content
If the stockbroker’s wife is afraid of growing old
If the professor’s wife is an alcoholic
If the woman in prison is me

There are copper-tanned women in Hyannis port playing tennis
Women who eat with finger bowls
There are women in factories punching time clocks
Women tired every waking hour of the day

I wonder why there are women born with silver-spoons in their mouths
women who have never known a day of hunger
Women who have never changed their own bed linens
And I wonder why there are women who must work
Women who must clean other women’s houses
Women who must shell shrimps for pennies a day
Women who must sew other women’s clothes
Who must cook
Who must die
In childbirth
In dreams

Why must women stand divided?
Building the walls that tear them down?
Lover, mother, housewife, friend, breadwinner
Heart and spade
A woman is a ritual
A house that must accommodate
A house that must endure
Generation after generation
Of wind and torment, of fire and rain
A house with echoing rooms
Closets with hidden cries
Walls with stretchmarks
Windows with eyes

Short, tall, skinny, fat
Pregnant, married, white, yellow, black, brown, red
Professional, working-class, aristocrat
Women cooking over coals in sampans
Women shining tiffany spoons in glass houses
Women stretching their arms way above the clouds
In Samarkand, in San Francisco
Along the Mekong

~ Genny Lim

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