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My Mother and I

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

By Paula Gil-Ordoñez Gomez

Our tongues were barely sweet

save for summer banquets of condensed

Milk and ripe mango

magic. I inherited a mestizo nose

But she rhinoplasticized hers

at sixteen, asked if I wanted one too

When I came of age. We share

blurred brown eyes, slender wrists, chemical

Imbalances and a belief

that the ones we love will leave.

We find softness now

in tulip gardening, our hands dirty

For beautiful purpose. Together

we can make something grow

That isn’t hostile or burnt. I don’t mourn

the passage of time, satisfied with aging.

She is too, grateful to parent

a grown-up. I love my mother

But I bear the aching

she planted in me, rooted by the

Matriarch. Generations of pulling

others’ weeds, neglecting our own.

We are exhausted

women wailing with ugliness. I resent that

I am my mother’s daughter

but it’s not all her fault. There are things

I cannot write,

too many people are still alive.


Paula Gil-Ordoñez Gomez is a Latina poet residing in New York City. She works in narrative strategy at a social impact agency, and as Social Media & Membership Manager for Brooklyn Poets. Her work has been published in Wax Nine and Fahmidan Journal. Paula tweets @paulagilordonez. Find more of her writing at

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