"Zhou Ling"

September 2, 2016

Finalist for the 2014 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award 


Zhou Ling


My wedding portrait lies.

Glamorous beguiling smiling bride wearing

wedding cheongsam of brilliant scarlet satin


embroidered in lavish glittering gold

skimming angular curves, western bridegroom’s arm

loosely draping narrow silken shoulders

flanked by many far flung Fujianese cousins and by

small stooped parents who,

even arrayed in festive attire seem to

scurry and worry


I have become utterly other. Child

who daily covered her ears to quiet the din, child

who daily squinted her eyes to dim the squalor, child

who daily dutifully followed father to the shops,

the child has become the other -

Gentile wife to Orthodox Jew

Asia, meet Europe. China, meet Germany.

Dim sum, meet kreplach.

Eyes, meet eyes.


I have fashioned our family.

Tiger mother to a violinist, a chemist

prominent exceptional Asians

Parent to perfection itself but who,

as daughter did her damnedest to be

the furthest from flawless and now

smooth assimilated offspring to

impossibly immigrant parents and

heretic helpmeet to reverent husband


My wedding portrait lies.

We are more alike than people imagine,

my Jewish husband and I.



This poem is included in my chapbook from Finishing Line Press.

You can order the book on Amazon.com or here:


Windows and a Looking Glass by Deborah Kahan Kolb


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