Why I Need a Son
My oldest sister-in-law pulls me into spare bedroom
during our first New Year, gives me pH strips, tells me
I’m carrying too high; first child should hang low,
a plum pulling down on a branch.
Shoveling too much jiāo into jiàozi sauce when boys
needed vinegar, not knowing we had invested in flower
headbands; chosen a name from my mother’s side.
She told me how at three she was made jiějiě, older
sister, a sigh throughout family back to farmland grave
mounds—another girl to be lost at marriage.
How could she have known family transplanted women
like organs, love congenital heart failure?
They gave èrjiě, second sister, to ayí, sānjiě to nàinai.
She rubs my back, remembers bàba swore divorce if
there was no son. Māmā taught her to wage silent war:
chew on words like sticky rice cakes, buy shoe store, work
fourteen-hour days, wrap chain twice before locking doors.
Mea Andrews is a writer from Georgia, who currently resides in China. She is finishing up her MFA from Lindenwood University and is only recently back on the publication scene. You can find her in The Round, Feminine Inquiry, and others. You can also follow her on Instagram at mea_writes.