Melinda Wang

nǚ (女)
*This poem is meant to be read left to right

                                                                                         nǚ becomes a
                                                                                       woman when

                                                             you give her a figure, spined curves and a hat so she works diligently
                                                         in the paddies every day to ensure the children are fed. nǚ becomes

                                                                            a woman                                             when you
                                                                         pair her with                                            child, when
                                                                       child comes                                             from the a
                                                                     seed planted.                                            in her lips,
                                                                   and sprouts                                                   like a ginger
                                                                   root that has                                               spent far too
                                                                   long in the.                                            cupboard. nǚ
                                                                    becomes a                                          woman when
                                                                          you feel her                                domesticity is
                                                                            overrated and                       you want the
                                                                                love born from              her saliva and
                                                                                       every single dip in her body
                                                                                            when she lays to rest.
                                                                                            nǚ becomes a woman
                                                                                         when you            wish her
                                                                                  by your side,               pairing her
                                                                                irrevocably                     left in the
                                                                            right side of                           all things.
                                                                          nǚ becomes                               a woman
                                                                     when you                                           flee her head,
                                                                  when she is                                             born from a
                                                               love, not                                                        when you use
                                                          sticks to                                                               create her bones.

Melinda Wang is a fifteen-year-old high schooler living in Santa Monica, California. She has been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and Polyphony Lit for her fiction and creative nonfiction. Her favorite school subject is English and she enjoys writing about the natural world and her lived experiences, often through fiction and poetry. In her free time, she enjoys learning how to empower others through words, bird watching, and learning about whales.

"File:女-order.gif" by See user in the 'File history' section. is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!