Ten years after she pawned her shadow

Black and white abstract ink drawing

From the series “Resonance” by Shee Gomes


Ten years after she pawned her shadow

Amy Wang


for its stitching, my mother went back to Shanghai

to see if my grandmother could make her a new one.

If anyone can do it, she told me, it would be my mother

that could do it. Before she left, she packed the skins

of things that had once been precious to her young

eyes. The key to the first apartment we’d lived in

in America, the duvet cover she’d turned into

a wedding dress for a play I’d been in in sixth grade.

Pressed flowers, wet desire, the skim-milk skin

of the rain she had stood beneath that first Friday

afternoon, when her ankles were newly unmoored

to the pavement, her fingers sucked dry of their attention

to detail. The night before her flight, she held

my face in her hands and told me that she knew this

because she would do it for me. Only daughters and mothers,

she said. The light fell over her hair, into the empty

space behind her, yawning wider and wider and

wider until there was a suggestion of a mouth

in its place. Only mothers and daughters. Beneath

it all was that fine titration of hope. Perhaps, perhaps,

perhaps. The day was calling her from the spine

of another country, and she was calling herself

a girl again. I did not have it within me to tell

her that waipo had died four years ago, that her

shadow was one of the things that she could only

think about fully at night. Only mothers and daughters,

she told me. I knelt before her. I could not

put my hand on her knee. I didn’t know how

to touch her in a way that would make sense

to the both of us. And so I bowed my head

and pretended that I was praying, even though

I had stopped believing in God years ago.

Only mothers and daughters, I thought to myself.

How much I knew it to be true.




Amy Wang is a writer from California. She is a 2020 prose alumnus of The Adroit Journal’s summer mentorship under Andrew Gretes. When not crying over fanfiction, you can find her translating Chinese literature, coding, and taking long walks.


Born in 1987 in São Paulo, Brazil, with a degree in Digital Design, Shee Gomes began her work in visual arts at the same year she graduated from college in 2009. Shee has been showcasing her work in a variety of exhibitions, collaborations and projects, with curated works featuring
international books and magazines.