by Sarah Heffner
We were so poor,
That when my mother became pregnant,
She only allowed herself to crave flour,
Which was cheaper than rice,
And she would shape into circles,
The size of her palms,
To make sujaebi.
The more she devoured,
The longer her hair grew.
When her hair reached the floor,
We had run out of money
And her belly had grown more.
What could she sacrifice?
For the baby inside her,
For a radish in the stew.
Spring was neighboring,
Teasing with sprouts.
Magnolias were still flowering,
But the cherry blossoms—
Were dead when my father
Went blind from drinking.
Then, I knocked on my mother’s door
And she let me out into the world thinking,
Who would notice a few missing roots?
Spring turned into a lion
Demanding a price for the stolen onions.
Tears gave my father sight again,
But my mother wouldn’t look at me.
She added water to the flour,
Shaping dough into circles.
Sarah Heffner is a current resident of Fishtown, Philadelphia. Adopted, she just returned from a 3 year stint living in South Korea where she reunited with her birth mother. Before that she lived in NYC, working and earning a MFA in Creative Writing from NYU. She is a poet, essayist and creative producer.