Jalina Mhyana

When the artist cut our faces we felt eternal.
We became ancestors that day, joining centuries
of mothers and daughters whose profiles

have been cut from paper; immortalized in a scissor-snip,
silhouettes of ourselves that will pass through the hands
of our daughters for generations.

Our faces will hang from my great,
great granddaughter’s wall, a timeline. She’ll know
very little about us, except that she came through us
to enter this world,

that each of us spilled a little of our
darkness into the next frame,
daughters facing left, turning away from their mothers,

The silhouettes in the portraits could walk away,
it seems, not interested in the living. They might turn
45 degrees and walk fully into the bright wall.

We’d see only the backs of their dark heads—
black dots like pupils narrowing,
consumed by white,
the white light they all walked toward,
and that we will too, eventually.