Stephanie Yue Duhem


Star Anise

Stephanie Yue Duhem

my mother with ma la hands each

finger another spice but she

says play nice the way she does do

not make a fuss if they tell you

first day on the job their wife is

chinese too just smile to please them

do not cuss just rise above do

not share the races of your one-

time significant others while

their faces drop to the ground as

if you are a pinch of pepper-

corn over the shoulder listen

to your mother and do not make

a stench my star anise; you will

understand this when you are older.

Stephanie Yue Duhem is a 1.5 generation Chinese-American poet and educator. Her work appears in PANK, Glass, Lunch Ticket, and other journals. She was a winner of Red Wheelbarrow‘s 2018 contest, judged by Naomi Shihab Nye. She can be found online @nameandnoun or at