I Come from China

smuggled in my Nana’s suitcase,
beside floral blouses and skirts.
I remember the journey,
the constricted nature of my carriage.

I come from a new chapter,
made from fragile plates
and sukiyaki in winter.
The first TV set in Bedfordshire,
watching as we sit with blankets
bundled over our bones,
protected against the English weather.

I come from hand-me-down skin,
passed from my mother, by hers before her,
wearing it to stand out
in the country they escaped to,
wearing it like a laurel.

Jemma Shaw

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