Copyright 2011 by Leah Cutter
Published by Knotted Road Press
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Mama Chen pretended not to hear Xi Bao's cries as she bent her adopted daughter's four little toes under while pushing her big toe toward her heel. It wasn't that she didn't know how much the binding hurt — her own feet fit easily in the palm of one hand. But Mama Chen knew best.
"Please, don't do this to me," Xi Bao wept, the words echoing off the unpainted plaster walls in Mama Chen's windowless bedroom. She clenched her hands into fists, balling up the blue and silver patchwork quilt that covered Mama Chen's sleeping platform. At least she no longer tried to pull her foot out of Mama Chen's ancient hands: the beatings she'd received for such disobedience had finally made a difference.