Good Asian Girls


Daddy says, good girls
don’t swear.
Good Asian girls
floss their teeth twice
before speaking,
make sure
the words come out
squeaky clean.

The first time I said “fuck”
Auntie disowned me,
cried “embarrassment!”“dishonour!” –
sewed the words on my back
in red, packed the dust which settled
on my bed, and since then I learned
to breathe in monotones.
Ineloquent tongue
stashed behind the altar.

But I was never hers or his.

This filthy mouth never belonged to anyone,
not even myself,
and now it wants to say:

“The word “fuck” feels more 
familiar than a parent’s love.

Some days I swear that I am good enough,
asian enough, poet enough.
Most days my father is right.”

It wants to preach:

“I bleed eucharist wine and cuss
for the hell of it. And so what
if nobody believes in me?

My body is the New Testament,
and I will fucking rise again.”

It wants to rap:

“My pussy tastes like fine-dining 
and honeycomb dripping with malice,
a deity surpassing all religions.

My pussy is the prodigal daughter 
never coming home.”



Bio: Sade Andria Zabala is the Denmark-based Filipina author of poetry book WAR SONGS. Her writing has appeared on Words Dance, cahoodaloodaling, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and more. Find her at: or