i was born

at the rupture the root where

i split from my parallel self  i split from

the girl i also could have been

& her name / easy / i know the story

all her life / my mother wanted

a girl named for a flower

whose oil scents all

our mothers /

petals wrung

for their perfume
i was planted

land became ocean became land anew

its shape refusing root in my fallow mouth

cleaving my life neatly

& my name / taken from a dead woman

to remember / to fill an aperture with

cut jasmine in a bowl

our longing

our mothers’


garlands hanging from our necks
More Poems by Safia Elhillo