“Patriarchy” by Jaeyun Yoo1 min read

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How is a daughter

named? My mother pleads

to the librarian tapping

dewey decimals for the Hanja dictionary;*

a weary oracle of bastards, retards

and girls. Perhaps she pulls

my eyelids; probing

for floaters, films,

blemishes, basic faults

unspeakably loud

when feminine. Branded

woman after woman.

Look, her pain is my pain.


在姸: To be beautiful


As if beauty is moist gauze

to my mother’s glum chafed body,


for plenty moons. Eventually

milk stripes the melons

of her breasts, freshly pendulous

to suckle by my brother.

Sweet boy lemongrass;

he softens father of fathers

who powders his bum

feels the sticky grip of a tiny fist

and I learn how a son is named.

Such a blessing to us all.


建募: A call to lead


*Hanja dictionary: A Korean dictionary for traditional Chinese characters

Jaeyun Yoo is a Korean-Canadian writer and physician living in Vancouver, BC. Her work has previously been published in “VanChosun.”

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