Ama of Tainan (臺南的阿媽), 1942

to the 2,000 conscripted  

Her hands are raised. 
She wears a simple dress. 

To every Imperial soldier: 
she was freshly shipped, bound 
to deliver and re-deliver. 
When a truck takes her to a new camp,  
she is re-virgined.   
There she was at fourteen: her hair 
barely whispered at her small shoulders.  
They made her dance her dance. 
She's their silk ribbon: soft and lithe, 
dangling for her audience. 

Her young chest heaved and stilled. 
She remembered the change 
by her bedside, slowly mounting,  
she saved what she dreamt to buy.  

She would have no children, her womb was cut.  
When she returned to Tainan, her uncle said,  
"Our family can't have whores." 

-Margaret Siu

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Margaret Siu is majoring in Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas, has a certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the National Taiwan Normal University (國立臺灣師範大學) and a business certificate from Harvard Business School’s HBX program. Siu is the founder of international, multimedia publication Apricity Magazine. .In addition, she is the recipient of the James F. Parker Poetry Prize. Siu is an avid fan of Naomi Shihab Nye, Mong-Lan, and Lin Manuel Miranda--those who endeavor to narrate their cultures through verse.






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