My Inheritance Does Not Come in the Form of Wealth. Instead, By Jasmine Cui

My Inheritance Does Not Come in the Form of Wealth. Instead,

I was born choking
on my own spit.

Stutter-song, this, a habit
I inherited like birthmarks.

Such things are not self-taut.
From my father, I learnt

to fear famine — a hunger
that haunts / hunts.

Still, he is wary of abundance.
Once, an uncle bet my father

in a game of poker.
As if shared blood was worth less

than a stack of cards.
From this, I learnt to flinch

as cars thundered through
our neighborhood, wondering

if they too were coming
to take me.

His sleeplessness,
I have adopted

as a kind of insomnia
luring me to the veranda

where wind pulls light taught, stretches it
wire thin. Flickering knife marks split

topography into neat hemispheres.
I watch the sky dilate, yawn open.

I mistake peonies for shrapnel,
my shadow for a gun.

By Jasmine Cui


Jasmine Cui is 18 years old and is majoring in Political Science, Economics, and Chemistry at SUNY Geneseo. She aspires to be like her parents who are first-generation Americans that fought an extraordinary battle for their place in this country. She is the founder and co-Editor in Chief of The Ellis Review.

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