Marías at Sampaguitas
Poetry by Jenny Mae Samson
April 2021 Contest Honorable Mention chosen by Editor-in-Chief, Keana Aguila Labra
I am a daughter of the Diaspora The blanket woven by my motherland Adorns us each in gold; She kisses our foreheads and weaves into our hair tendrils of stars, Whispers a Mother’s love endlessly from afar. Too oft’ we forget to lean into her fabric and Forget to heed her voice So we forget to recognize ourselves and our Pamilya Far and wide; We forget to maintain the golden cords Tying us to each other, bonding us to Her – And sometimes like rebellious teenagers we Hate the reflection of ourselves Wanting to be someone else Wanting to shrug off the stars in our hair, The gold dust in our skin We too often self-loathe, a Complicated conflicting mode Desiring a different coat Hide the one she gave In time, with self-reflection, washing off The mask we’ve learned to perfect, Taking off the overcoat of assimilation We find the raw threads, still glinting like starburst rays, resilient We find the raw threads, still glinting Begin to see other children showing them proudly Learn that our kapwa are all around In different stages of life, of love Each rediscovering the beauty In re-spun Islander fibers, Reconstructing what it means to be An inheritor of Her legacy Born into gold, kissed by the sunshine rays themselves
Jenny Mae Samson (she/her) is a Pangasinan-Bicolana Filipino-American poet. A scientist by day and wordsmith by night, she explores the depths of melancholy-laced desire and reclamation of identity as a daughter of the Diaspora. She is an art, coffee, and travel aficionado who can be found on Instagram as @thetravellingseattlite.