• Allison B.

a.kin

there’s a pair of steel scissors

that my mother bought

when she first saw this country,

and they sit in the back of my armoire

like she sat behind her tiny apartment window

looking at the bustling of city-dwellers below, feeling

out of place and eager to trim loose threads.


I’ve always thought of unsheathing

those precious shears, along with the skin

that encases me, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.

though I wanted to prove

how sharp I am, to showcase

my cutting-edge ideas, I once believed

that my ties to a foreign land

were too colorful—too graphic—

for an audience bleached with pride.


it’s only now that I’ve unearthed

my roots and understood what grounds me

that I’ve learned how to fasten

authentic bows on my traditional clothes,

and instead of using those scissors

to sever these inherited strings

I’m fashioning a new pattern

that represents me.

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