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learkana chong
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I think about the long bridge of women spanning before me:

Women who bit their tongues and broke their backs for men

Women who toiled under the hot sun,
their hands finding home in soil

Women who birthed the banes of their existence
with gritted teeth taken for smiles

Women who took root and sunk into the earth,
their screams buried unheard

Women who lived in secret
who loved in secret
who led revolutions
only to be disappeared
in memory
in gender
and in name

The strength of these women flows through my veins,
generations of resilience waxing in my soul
like an heirloom moon
forever in glow

I think about the long bridge of women spanning before me,
about how
I can’t keep a plant from dying,
but I can keep myself alive
Ink flowers into my skin
Laugh in the faces of men
Learn the art of happiness
Speak truth to my pain
and always, always remember
what I am worth
so that these women who came before me
can rest in power,

knowing their bridge
led to transformation

learkana chong (she/her) is a diasporic Cambodian millennial woman born and raised in the imperial core. Her work has appeared in All about Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color, the Asian American Literary Review, Stilt House, and Sample Space. She blogs about f*ckboys and feminism at Her first (self-)published book of poetry, speculum, is available through Barnes & Noble Press. Learkana received her B.A. in English at Mills College and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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