The Coming Back

Written by Megan Conley

my mother says  i told you / i told you / i told you says it all the time. told you  not to cut your hair / not to order fries / not to soil your body  it's instinct, the way i  counter her, as if pulled  by magnets / by poles of the earth / by centromeres  driving cells into separation.  the scissors are in my hands  before i can ask  if this is rebellion / if i'm doing this right / if i   will ever stop reaching for what  my mother is always leaving. 

i am nineteen when i first go to the philippines.  nineteen / soggy-ankled / thrown into an ocean tagalog an echo down a dead end.  lola’s english drowned in manila bay long before i can ask  if it is easy the coming back. no one can tell me.

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