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E Wen Wong

Whakatū Wahine


what does it mean to be a woman?
to lace a pink ribbon in your hair
and knot it with slim shackles of submission
to be gentle, elegant
blinded by society’s road codes
wiped like rain on equality’s windscreen.
what does it mean to be a woman?
to smear your lips a cardinal red
and purse them like an artwork
in a public gallery
to hide behind a curtain
voice smothered by thick blankets of legislation.

Whakatū Wahine—
what it means to be a Woman
is to shred your pink ribbon
and swap it for white
with ten dollars between your fingers
wearing your identity
like a strong indelible perfume.
Whakatū Wahine—
awash with a sea of purple and white
pouring your story as a rich tapestry
define it as you wish.
like violets, you are an artwork
an intricate masterpiece
a Woman—

not for display.


E Wen Wong is sixteen years old and a Year 12 student at Burnside High School. Since becoming passionate about poetry through Paula Green’s Poetry Box, E Wen has had her work featured in various anthologies, on the back of local buses and on display in the Guernsey Airport. E Wen is also on the committee of the New Zealand Poetry Society.