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

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