Margaret Siu

Meat Factory

China, 2004:
115.88 boys crafted
for every 100 accidental girls


In the meat factory
you want sons to wear your name
and their sons to wear your name.
You think less about the machines,
Daughters. Faceless, nameless, seen but never heard.
You’ve pressed their hips and shipped them
back into the delivery room.  

For each sack of fresh bone and blood,
you check its gender and,
phew-its-a-boy, carefully stamp your name on,
barcode and all. You take care
to shun her and leave her in
garbage disposals and road-sides. Turning profit,
her small body fills inventories for orphanages,
she will never carry your name. Children,
wrapped by the long fingers of marionette strings
lace between your teeth. You wait
for new machinery finding BREAKING
NEWS: fewer of those child-rearing hips.  

Listen, the growing silence of factories around you.
Watch the leftover girls become leftover women
and plead for them to be your brides, new bodies oiling new factories.
Watch the leftover women become iron women,
they wear a new armor you gave them
every time you killed their sisters.
When you tossed their carcasses aside,
new goddesses hatch from the rubble.
Every time the old meat machine cranks
you cut your own strings.

Margaret Siu is majoring in Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas, has a certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the National Taiwan Normal University (國立臺灣師範大學) and a business certificate from Harvard Business School’s HBX program. Siu is the founder and Editor in Chief for international, multimedia publication Apricity Magazine; in addition, she is the recipient of the James F. Parker Poetry Prize. Siu is an avid fan of Naomi Shihab Nye, Mong-Lan, and Lin Manuel Miranda--those who endeavor to narrate their cultures through verse.