self-portrait as my mother’s reflection

mama,
we hold love like water in our hands, drink it down and
pray for a body that can bear more than just children.
this is a bloodline tainted in a way we don’t understand:
i am what you left behind, and you are what i will become.
your hand on my cheek means to caress and slap all at once.
we are daughters giving birth to daughters
& this means that we won’t be in the ancestral books,
our names snuffed out like cigarette ends—exhaling smoke, still.
this means that we are wingless, divine with our hands tied, duty-bound.
what is motherhood, you ask, but godhood on earth?
and still you bleed gold between your shoulder blades.
you grasp my hand and call me daughter, daughter—our bodies, folded in on one another like pairs of hands.
dissolving into light. into a thousand floating butterflies.

Vicki Lin (林诺曦) is an aspiring Chinese American poet and writer born in New York. She currently lives in Florida and is a junior at Bell High School along with her twin sister. She enjoys drinking tea and having educational conversations, when she’s not reading and writing. Vicki is a participant in The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and Polyphony Lit’s editor course. She has won Keys from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and looks forward to having more accomplishments.

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