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.