Mani Pedi By Yuri Han

Mani Pedi

manipulative pediatrics /
the job / she never wanted /
fitting others & forgetting /
to squeeze herself in

A mask asks me in Korean
Do you remember me?
I am six & shake my head,
hiding behind mother’s
coat. The mask laughs, it has
the body of a woman, & it
sits me down in front of her
station & takes my hands,
little clay stars like peach &
gravity. Meanwhile my mother
makes mouth with the mask,
talks of surgery & how it went
& whether it was man or infection—
This all in a tongue I should know
how to lick. The mask grinds
my nails into the light side of
moon, polishes them to the
raw bone they grew from—false
soil. Then it asks me
What color?
I look at my nails & they are
like those on my dolls & I
remember that Barbie is a
pink little lady, remember that
I don’t want to be a pink thing.
I look up at mother & whisper
Yellow. I want
to dip my fingers in sun.
The mask giggles, it wants to
be my friend, & it pronounces
the word with effort & spit

She is a friend of my mother’s,
this paint job, she tells herself,
a happy favor. This mask, she
says, is only temporary.

By Yuri Han


Yuri Han is a Korean American poet and artist from Tenafly, NJ. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing, and publications including The Interlochen Review and Hermeneutic Chaos.

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