Written by Alma Mark-Fong

Edited by Emerald Liu

These little girls with dresses 

Crimson, ivory, and cerulean blue 

Bows tied neatly at their waists 

Delicately embroidered lace too 

But Mama sewed me jeans with flower patches 

Crooked hems through and through 

She said it’s my Monday through Thursday pair 

For the rest of the week the old ones will do 

And the little girls with dresses 

Will tug at the fraying ends of my denim 

I’ll spit at their swaying skirts 

Tongues of serpents, words of venom 

Mama cries alone at night 

for fraying hems and crooked seams 

And later she’ll cry some more 

For her stolen youth and American dreams 

For the broken promise of wealth 

And a country “so free” 

If you do unto others 

Will they do unto thee? 

But the humming of her sewing machine 

Will gently lull me to sleep 

Yards of cotton and taffeta 

She’ll sew a dress all mine to keep

Illustration by Ajunie Virk
Instagram: @ajunie.b.jones

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