Hilary Tham



In Washington, DC, Mrs. Wei takes a tour
of the Capitol and is impressed.
She tells her daughter:
"Malaysian Government is like the American
price system: take it or leave it.
It's easy enough to leave a dress hanging

on the rack, but a country is not something
you can get up and walk away from.  Your Congress
resembles our marketplace: haggling and shouting

until everyone is a little satisfied.
Can we visit a shop where I can talk
the price down?  I want to buy a victory.

I need a good fight."




Hilary Tham (1946-2005) is the author of nine books of poetry (including Counting, The Tao of Mrs. Wei, and Bad Names for Women), a collection of short fiction (Tin Mines and Concubines), and a memoir (Lane With No Name). Born in Klang, Malaysia, she immigrated to the US in 1971, where she married, converted to Judaism, and gave birth to three daughters. She was extremely active in the region's literary community, serving as Editor-in-Chief for The Word Works, as Poetry Editor for the Potomac Review, and teaching extensively as a visiting writing in schools throughout Virginia.

Published in Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2006.


To read more by this author:
Hilary Tham
Hilary Tham: The Whitman Issue
Hilary Tham's Intro to Vol. 3, No. 4 (Fall 2002)
Hilary Tham: Audio Issue
Hilary Tham: Tenth Anniversary Issue


Thanks to Hilary Tham's family for permission to reprint.