Shanghai, 1922 by Janice Ko Luo


Shanghai, 1922
Janice Ko Luo

My grandmother
never had bound feet
never put her hand
over her mouth to suppress
the hearty laugh
that was inherited
by my mother
and my sister
but not me.

My grandmother
wore red qipaos
fitted for her slender body
tearing at the too-tight
silk necklines each time
she threw down
her last mahjong tile
on the wood table
and shouted, “I’m on fire!”


Janice Ko Luo graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles, where she was a Poetry Editor for the literary and art journal Lunch Ticket. She was recently selected for a Kundiman fellowship. Her poems have appeared in The Baltimore Review, Ricepaper magazine, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. She currently lives in New York City.

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