Mama sprinkles a ring of cumin around our feet,
tells us it’s what defends us from the unswerving
manhood. Papa knows that when the street boys
eat up what’s left of my gills, it’s not about the product,
but it’s the shame. Knowing that I’ve been carved up
by a beast with no wit, no talons. I’ve only known
two hooks on the face of this planet: one pulling
out my daughterhood, the other dragging out
my diffidence. Mama, does the cumin really protect us
if we ourselves are scared of it?

Sophie Zhu is a high school freshman from New York. The founding editor-in-chief of The Elliptic Collective and the managing editor at The Lumiere Review, she is an Adroit Journal 2020 summer mentee and a COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective 2020 fellow. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Half Mystic Journal, The Heritage Review, and Sienna Solstice.

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