by Neesa Suncheuri
Tirades, the belt and forceful denial,
Beneficial and necessary for my wife.
She is fain and enthusiastic to receive these criticisms, from
Me, the well-meaning father,
And later our son, T, when grown.
She remains beneath us masters all-knowing.
For her to understand what we know, impetuous.
To request an education, appalling.
And to better her character? Simply achieved by
Raising the children, and
Breathing a sense of feminine charm
Into my bedroom.
A bracelet here, some earrings there…
Cheaply-priced sparkle suffices to silence her.
And even if she does make a complaint,
It is unfounded and irrelevant.
For she is confused by her hormones,
And bound to our, beautiful, honorable cultural
Traditions, such as silently serving tea. Her
A pan of corn.
That make the children
Finish their plates.
Grease stains on the ceiling.
Worn out pots and pans.
A broken dishwasher.
Bottles of soap mixed with water.
She will develop character
As she makes do with less.
As for her beauty?
That is her true wealth,
But she grows poorer each year.
The house has cockroaches.
They’re from the neighbors upstairs.
Sometimes they cook food that smells
Different than ours.
The kids get good grades in school,
They do their homework when they get home.
Big sister E. helps them,
As she should.
When they finish, they play together,
Seen, but only heard amongst themselves
T cries, but E
Corrects him. This is weakness.
E. will be a good mother someday.
And sadly, she is already better than
My colleagues come over
From the law firm.
I am proud that the apartment has everything
In its place, the kitchen door is
E, I am proud of her.
She has tied up her hair,
And has just turned seventeen.
She carries the empty tray away,
My top supervisor J. beckons to me:
“Ah, you are a good father!
You have such a beautiful daughter.”
Indeed. I understand.
But I must break a rule.
This is important business.
J. opens the kitchen door…
And goes in.
Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York. She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness? A Mental Health Discussion Group.” Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia. She writes poetry and fiction, and maintains a blog called Unlearning Schizophrenia. She is also a singer/songwriter, and an enthusiast for the German language and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @neesasuncheuri.