The Decision

There are so many ways that society monitors and controls women’s bodies. PiMam’s family had determined how she could and could not use her body in relationships. Now, economic necessity was undoing my own bid for freedom. Every morning I woke to the sound of the kitchen hood rumbling to life. My mugs rattled onContinue reading “The Decision”

The Thai Women

I was crap at waiting tables. I was even crap at bussing them. I spilled water on cell phones and purses. I stumbled into my coworkers. Eddie, one of Top’s cousins, shouted at me regularly. Look where you’re going, girl. I could not, for the life of me, memorize the menu, even though I ate fluffyContinue reading “The Thai Women”

After a Father Sexually Assaults His Daughter

The next thing I remember is shaking out black garbage bags. I bagged up the clothes from my closet, taking armfuls of sweaters and blouses and skirts with the hangers still attached. I wadded up my sheets and pillows. I stuffed everything into the bags and knotted them closed. I don’t know if this wasContinue reading “After a Father Sexually Assaults His Daughter”

The Moral Imperative to Accept Refugees

How many of you have actually known refugees, personally? How many of you have sat beside them at a table and listened to their stories? Raise your hands. Okay, if you raised your hand, you’re free to go. Once you’ve sat across the table from a refugee and looked into their faces as they’ve toldContinue reading “The Moral Imperative to Accept Refugees”

Winners and Losers

Today a middle-aged Korean woman and I learned that American culture divides people into winners and losers. Or so her ESL textbook assured us. Americans view life as a “race for success,” the textbook authors claimed. Those who play the game well are rewarded. And those who don’t? They can feel useless and devalued, sinceContinue reading “Winners and Losers”

Something Like Family

Every year in June, one block south on Midvale Avenue, the parents throw a big birthday bash for their little boy. This year it was a mariachi bouncy castle. Latino children streamed down the street for hours, in twos and threes, black hair bobbed in bowl cuts, their mothers close behind, arms swinging, dressed inContinue reading “Something Like Family”