This poem from Choonwha Moon, “Jackson & Perkins Mail-Order Bride,” operates on what might seem like a common trope at first blush, but it also digs into a larger issue in a subtle way. How much have we been subjected to the phrase “cancel culture” lately? How ironically has it been thrown about in recent weeks? How much do we, as a society, disregard others as no more necessary or meaningful than a social media post or a pile of junk mail or an ill-fitting item of fast fashion? At what point does a person lose their value in the eyes of another person? There’s more here than meets the eye’s first reading.
Jackson & Perkins Mail-Order Bride
“… easy to grow 4-inch African violets.
The violets are gold medal winners,
And like a good marriage, they blossom year ‘round.”
–Jackson & Perkins flower catalog
Her thick limbs lean away from the stove,
The omelets and the bacon grease.
Cornered between the window
And brochure dreams,
She soaks in her own desires.
Last month her look was demure,
And she listens with her foreign leaves
To my black soles passing.
Her rigidness tells me
That too much tension causes retention,
So I love her at five-day intervals.
When I bought her, she had no other function
But to echo in small violets.
Instead, she has remained, as if pregnant,
Hardly approaching motherhood,
A woman preened hollow in her pride.
Over morning coffee,
I remind her that bad women are thrown away.
Choonwha Moon earned an MFA from the University of Florida. She won The Lorene Pouncey Memorial Award in 2015, was the Featured Poet for the 2016 Houston Poetry Fest, and has been interviewed by NPR Houston Matters for its Poetry Month Series.