My poem “Where Are You Really From?” won first prize in the poetry category of Empower Her* Voice‘s 2021 Creative Writing Contest on the theme of Stereotypes and Perceptions. According to their website, “EmpowerHer*Voice is a platform that spotlights the innovative vision and lived experiences of people of marginalised genders worldwide. Our platform brings togetherContinue reading “Winner of the Empower Her* Voice 2021 Creative Writing Contest”
Read more on their website. Congratulations to all the winners, finalists, and fellow longlisters!
Each time he comes home, his face changes. He is an old man at her birth, a youth at her third birthday party, and a fifty-something when he walks her to her first day of kindergarten. She hears the adults mutter about how Clare’s mother can’t keep a husband longer than a year, and Clare can barely suppress her giggles. You don’t get it. All those men—they’re all one husband.
She tells her second-grade class, My daddy is in space . . .
The words for you were hidden in your fibers,
buried in your tissue, emblazoned instructions
on every cell membrane to jerk, shake, whirl, and beat
to a rhythm of your own making,
as if I were meant to dance while still . . .
At CVS, a woman toes the tape line
marking a safe six feet from where I stand.
She stares at me slantwise, suspicious,
and turns away when I meet her gaze . . .
Texas doesn’t know what to make of her.
Is she white or colored? Rice-paper skin
folds at the corners of her origami eyes,
black like her hair. Mexican? they guess . . .
No. Those rising tones, tense as a violin
note suspended on a string, died with my grandfather
when I was too young to remember his funeral
except for the juice box I drank from:
Juicy Juice, green apple . . .