The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Revenge of the Asian Woman by Dorothy Chan


Triple Sonnet for My Aggressive Forehead

Dad thinks my forehead is too Godzilla, too Tarzan,

too Wonder Woman, tells me not to tie my hair back,

exposing it, like it’s the Frankenstein Monster

from beneath my childhood bed,

or the mollusk that challenged the world,

and Dad, I love you, but you should know

that I’m a nightmare as a woman

who can make the earth stand still,

calling all UFOs from planets beyond

to paint me on canvas just as I am:

a Chinese girl nicknamed Yellow Fever,

chowing down on all the pork buns

and chicken biscuits and shrimp bánh mì,

at the buffet, and of course, all the men

as I star in my own B-movie, give it an XXX,

every girl’s dream of playing opposite

King Kong, and you know I’m not some Fay Wray

who screams at the sight of a hand,

and Dad, I think about all the ape toys

you bought me when I was a child,

because you never wanted me to be alone,

never wanted me to go a day without

laughing or plotting, and did I mention

that you were born on Halloween

which makes me half evil—I’m joking,

but Dad, you’ve got to let me keep my forehead,

despite your old school Chinese beliefs

of girls hiding their warrior brains,

and I know you’re just looking out for me,

but my forehead has its own life,

like an invisible screen—one-way glass

where the ad men are watching the women

try on lipstick, but in my forehead

it’s the other way around, because let’s let

the boys play, and the girls watch for once,

because every lip could use a bit more

rouge, purple, crimson, burnt orange, hot pink,

how at once, I want to dress up

as a flight attendant, an accountant,

someone in the front of the class holding a ruler

and yes, if I fill out a survey

from a sex magazine, I’m checking off

forehead as my favorite body part.

This selection comes from Dorothy Chan’s full-length book, Revenge of the Asian Woman, available from Diode Editions.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Danielle Hanson.

Dorothy Chan is the author of Attack of the Fiy-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018) and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Academy of American Poets, e Cincinnati Review, e Common, Diode Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Chan is the Editor of e Southeast Review and Poetry Editor of Hobart.

Danielle Hanson is the author of Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press Poetry Prize, 2018) and Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017).  Her work has appeared in over 70 journals, won the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub, was Finalist for 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award and was nominated for several Pushcarts and Best of the Nets.  She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books, and is on the staff of the Atlanta Review. Her poetry has been the basis for visual art included in the exhibit EVERLASTING BLOOM at the Hambidge Center Art Gallery, and Haunting the Wrong House, a puppet show at the Center for Puppetry Arts. More about her at

Leave a Reply