Oct/Nov 2005 Poetry

In China

by Bob Bradshaw

In China

In China in the nineteenth century
a woman wrapped her daughter's
chest tightly with rolls
of cloth.

My daughter is eleven.
She wears a "training" bra.
What is she training for?

We watch TV together
and everywhere dresses
drop like towels in a sauna.
Young women pant in bedrooms
like fires whipped
by high winds.

What is she thinking?
I switch channels but everywhere
young couples wrestle and moan
as if absorbing
hard, quick punches.

Are these the role models
for my daughter?
Soon she could be dating.
I can imagine the young man
standing in our doorway,

his bribe of CD's
waiting in his father's borrowed
car. His polite manner
won't fool me. I know.

I've been there.


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