My maternal Korean grandmother speaks to her daughters.
Letters to my Daughters: Siri
Foolish girl, you wonder why I lie? Why I tell
them you are not mine? You are too young
to understand shame. Every plum has a past.
When you puncture the skin, you don’t think
of where it’s been, but how it tastes.
If someone has already bitten the fruit, left
the flesh exposed in the sun,
would you still eat?
When you are older you will understand
how to preserve blood.
Letters to my Daughters: Kimberly
You would be better off with a woman.
Men will only break your heart – the celestial body
turned debris. Men want to touch every
star. Your father disappears in our bed,
apparition of night, haunting others, I know.
I’ll take a ghost over nothing. I fear
you will make the same mistakes.
Your sisters will not worry –
the right man will treat an Asian woman
well. But you are too dark, too pretty,
too young, too much your father’s daughter.
You want the man strong as gin,
honest as the bottle is clear.
Gary Jackson is the winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for his book Missing You, Metropolis, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Laurel Review, BorderSenses, Pilgrimage, Catch Up, Callaloo, Tin House, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of New Mexico and currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has been a fierce lover of comics for nearly twenty years.