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Portrait of an Asian Woman


On the road we met an Asian woman.

We looked at her facial mask.


From a distant mirror

in the physical therapy room

I saw the reflection

of an old Asian woman.

Her dyed black hair was thin

and frail, like mother’s.


Oriental women always have a modest body,

someone shouts at an Asian woman

from his Toyota pickup at

the Walmart parking lot.


An Asian mom. 

A tiger mom.

No excuse, no defense.

Alex my Aikido instructor asked

an Asian woman,

Where are you from originally?

when she said

she was born in Cleveland.


An Asian woman has become a VP.

A half-Asian woman

has become a VP.


Mulan, Mulan,

a little boy calls an Asian woman,

her Cinderella shoes

made of bamboo glass.


Shanhu Lee is an atmospheric scientist whose speaking languages are English, Chinese, Korean,

and Japanese.  She has lived in four different countries on three continents and now lives in

Huntsville, Alabama, where she is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama. She

writes about cultural dislocation and injustice.


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