China Doll


    I am not a China doll. I am not a Geisha slut. I am not. Oriental. Exotic. Eastern. Fantasy. I’m not. I wear my mandarin collar, my frog closures for me. Because I can. Because I am. I wear my silk, my brocade. I am beautiful. Delicate. Okay, some stereotypes were me. Silent. Passive. Accommodating. Were me. Exotic. Were me. Father wanted to be Western. Wanted America. Though his long trip on the U.S.S. China wasn’t his choice, he made it his reality. Where is my father’s boat now? I want to get on it. I want to return to a place neither of us knows. But, I won’t leave in chaos. I won’t leave with questions unanswered. I won’t leave seduction spilling from my lips or yours. I won’t leave crying or screaming. I won’t leave not knowing where I’m going.

    copyright Sherry Quan Lee

    Black Beauty Blues


    Who knew
    curled thick hair thin.
    Singed the lie
    Red hot metal over gas flames.
    Petroleum jelly a kitchen aid.
    The kitchen
    always sterile, always white

    copyright Sherry Quan Lee

    This Breast Belongs to Me


    Received in the fresh state and labeled left breast
    biopsy is an oval shaped segment of moderately firm

    8 hours x 7 days x 52 weeks x # of hospitals
    = how much fear?

    breast tissue measuring 3.4 x 2.6 x 1cm. . . . The cut
    surfaces show moderately dense tan breast tissue.

    I can’t bathe, I can’t touch
    the possibility of death
    or survival
    Wrapped in gauze like a sanitary pad
    I smell shame

    my breasts nothing

    pathological examination

    and everything

    copyright Sherry Quan Lee



    Minnesota is not compatible
    to my growth, it is too cold.

    The Ice Age made it clear
    Magnolias, you can live
    here in SE China, here in Georgia.

    My ancestors opposed the heat.

    Civil wars and death–or just a robin
    traveling against the season–
    tossed Black / tossed Chinese:

    Here I am, a Minnesota mutant.

    Like a magnolia, I am
    not white. It is only light
    passing through. Mama
    cooked tuna noodle casserole
    and Daddy ate it.

    Like a magnolia
    –whose sepals never fuse–
    my life is disparate
    here a Black community,
    there an Asian community,
    everywhere white.

    He who chops down Magnolia trees is
    not a horticulturist

    I am almost ripe.
    Taste wintergreen.
    Soon, I will unzip myself
    shed pollen,



    copyright Sherry Quan Lee