Memories wrapped up with Ribbon
I store all my memories in a worn out box beneath my bed.
Inside it are pieces of myself.
A lone winter glove, worn out trinkets,
a medal I won when I was twelve.
Letters from younger versions of myself,
dirty coins, receipts and tickets,
material I picked up from an art class in Spain,
a poem I wrote about a boy I can barely remember
pictures of people whose names I seem to forget,
slip through my fingers like silk ribbon.
I try to eat soup with a fork.
It’s uncomfortable to forget.
So I try as hard as I can not to,
through things I’ve collected in my cardboard box.
Different versions of myself are lost.
cross-legged on my carpet,
I relive each memory and
let the wind carry them to another place.
1. When I was a child, I wanted to be everything and anything that you can imagine.
A rockstar, a scientist, and a pilot. Whatever it was that I dreamed of, there was nothing that was going to stop me.
Untainted and unscathed—a blank canvas.
2. My motherland was where I was born but my experiences are what brought me up.
The scent of slow-cooked meat, streets lined with smiling golden suntanned faces, and voices that spoke in warm Kiswahili.
The scent of rich perfume and cigarettes filled the French air. A quiet little town that sat on the Seine.
The high-pitched squeals of laughter of little girls playing in the afternoon. Girls who had not yet realised what it was to be a woman in this world.
3. When I was a child, those experiences were what fed and filled me up. They fostered my being.
Now. I am struggling to adapt and support myself against strong and uncertain winds.
I am no longer offered protection and loving kisses.
4. When I was a child, I did not think I’d have to grieve my childhood.
I am my own protector now. I must protect the child left within me—shield what’s left of her innocence, hopes, and dreams. Gifts that I cannot allow the world to steal, burn, and turn into ash.
5. When I was a child, I was free to be
But now I somewhat crave to be free. I know I must try and see,
Learning to accept that things are always changing is key.
An Ode to The Eldest Daughter from an Ethnic Household
You’ve shed tears that dazzle like moonlight,
You are both a bright star and the unlit corners of the night.
A vessel and amalgamation of lost dreams,
That did not get the chance to escape their infancy.
Bound by the effort of parental hardship,
You become a sailor desperate to not sink her ship.
You were a mother before you were a child.
A wife before you were deemed a scholar.
A pre-established destiny based on servitude,
The odds were always stacked up against you.
Often you dream,
A mirage of sunny weather and warm faces,
Wine coloured nights and gentle embraces.
A bittersweet selfish genesis.
Can you unthread the decades of generational trauma?
Sewn into your present,
An unwanted gift in the form of your fathers fathers trauma.
Undo years of abuse and for once not have to think of others.
Burn, burn again and burn some more.
Fight until your fists turn red and your flesh is raw.
Scream until they are forced to hear you,
An inextinguishable fire,
The universe cannot ignore your desire.
Know that the stars will not align themselves for you.
Sister, spin and manipulate your golden thread.
Like a surgeon with courageous hands,
You must line up your fate like intricate stitches.
Find your own sense of identity, By doing so, you create your destiny.