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IR ONLINE POETRY: “Adoption Tale” by Erin Jin Mei O’Malley

As an infant I was raised
like a scar, red and ready
to be anyone’s
kin. Blood synonym, boy unwish. I
was born a failed son: daughter
of the hidden swelled belly, left
like shredded stretch marks
on the stomach. I wanted
to touch someone without leaving
any blurred skin behind.
My birth was an exit

and an entrance. My navel, round and untraceable
like a coin. The hands I’ve passed through,
a lineage. My mother,
my mother. The distance
between us measured by a single bloodless line,
a radius. My mother, the center
of a circle, and I, blessed
by geometric proof & in need of no biology,
anywhere halfway
from where she stands.


Erin Jin Mei O’Malley lives in New York. Her work appears or is forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others. She has received a scholarship from the Lambda Literary Foundation and nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. You can find her at