I trace back the paths that I’ve chosen to take
Only to realize they were not choices,
Just ripples on a lake
Originating from a single cast stone
That was a stupid mistake made on a lonely walk home
And I am sewn together, stitched in a womb
And outward these timeless ripples bloom
Across the lake of my existence
So persistent that my life is an accumulation of choices
Yet I look to these ripples and perceive their voices
Recollections of a mother hell bent on a will
Recollections of a daughter choosing to not fill
The shoes of a misfit mother
I uncover,
I reveal decades of ill given advice
Which was equally ill received
And try to trace back that dreaded stone that I perceive to
Have started it all
Started the cascade of a daughter’s fall
Because the cause is still unknown
Three generations of women unsown,
Related but unknown to each other
I am desperate to escape the ripples of my mother
Just as desperate as she is to escape the ripples of her own
Fighting the ripples that engulf my daily life
To escape the strife that always seems to belong
I wait for the ripples to someday slow, to fan out and release
Me from this curse
But those never-ending ripples seems to grow stronger daily
Instead of just disperse
They engulf me, shroud me, whip me from side to side
I submerge beneath them to where the truth hides
These ripples are the only thing that’s holding us together
So for now at least I’ll pretend to not know better
And go with the flow of the ripples

Copyright © 2022 by Ashanti Files. This poem originally appeared in Kamelion (2014). Used with permission of the author.