Quest of identity

My desire is to be seen. I am a child of immigrants born and raised in the suburbs of upstate New York. Spending the majority of my early life in spaces that lacked diversity taught me a lot about my differences. 

This series is a collection photographers inside of my childhood home. I've paired the photos with poetry inspired by my relationships with my family to explore memories of love.

the soil here won't grow papa’s tomatoes 
     he’s patient though

beware of the sunlight and her kisses,
for the skin is too sensitive, too fair be
wary of pests and unwanted predators, 
     for without prey they would not exist, 

it took many summers 
spoiled soil did not know unconditional love, 
lacking lush, language 

to this day, 
the sour soil still remains 
still hugging tightly to the ends of papa’s ancient roots

The fickle threads woven within me continue to hug the warmth,
the heat, the soot, the mud, the debris, the sweat 
risen within the fires of resistance, 
centuries of survival, battles of the bloodline 
I'm itchy 
maybe in another life, 
my name will be Truth 
and i’ll introduce myself 
with every story i tell

when i was little, 
i never got to play dress up 
i never fit into mama’s shoes 
mama has the prettiest shoes 
i’ve never seen anyone wear them like her 
the arch of her foot 
danced in the sands of the south 
tip toeing to the street signs of the north 
her shoelaces tied up into a tight bow 
like a welcome present, 
gifted from the lands 
that had the honour to 
meet her

This photography series was the runner-up of the photography category of our 12th annual Writing in the Margins contest, judged by Rana Nazzal Hamadeh. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) for this year’s contest. 

Ros is a New York based writer, musician and artist. Dedicating the majority of her work to explore the balance of creative expressions between authenticity, identity and imagination.

Readers like you keep Briarpatch alive and thriving. Subscribe today to support fiercely independent journalism.