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Auntie taught you her secret

recipe, the one that coaxes

the sleepless into dream.

She taught you how to distill

a potion to protect your lover's

skin from fire. She told you

the secret of your father's

dragon, how its teeth hold

warriors ready to defend

the city in time of need.

But Auntie never taught you

how to transform men, to see

into their hearts. She never

told you of the pain

when your husband leaves

you for a woman—no, a girl—

who knows nothing of potions

nor sacrifices, who would never

bloody her hands to save his life.

Auntie never said: Don't be a wife.

Emily Jiang is a graduate of the Clarion Writers' Workshop in San Diego and has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College of California. Her poetry has been published in Stone Telling and The Sand Hill Review. She wrestles with words everyday. Sometimes she wins. Most times, it's a draw. You can read more about her and her work at
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