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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by Noreen Ocampo

Clarifying, or I wish I were a better daughter

My mother washes

the wax from

my hair

in the kitchen sink,

her hands at work

again. I think

the showers are

too weak

in our new house,

or else I am too weak,

letting water pass

right through me

and leaving shampoo

to sticky my hair.

I spend a lot of time

thinking about

the years

I have lost to

keeping myself


but with my chest

curled into the tallness

of the sink, I smell

that old translucent

yellow shampoo

and its pure-water gentleness:

I am still

a child at twenty-one,

letting my


rub circles

into my scalp.

Noreen Ocampo (she/her) is a Filipina American writer and poet based in metro-Atlanta. She studies English, film, and media at Emory University and currently writes for COUNTERCLOCK and {m}aganda magazine. She is also a regular contributor for Marías at Sampaguitas. Say hi on Twitter @maybenoreen!

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