Creative Submissions

Dancing with my Eyes: A Poem

Painting by Claude Monet with referenced frame. Photo Submitted by author.
Written by: Omaris Zunilda Zamora
Author’s note: This is one of my personal poems which reflects on the generational relationships of mothers and daughters in working class Dominican migrant families. The poem is reflective of my relationship with my mother and the constant search for guidance and attention in the midst of my own mother seeking guidance. The poem seeks to create a space of intimacy where the narrator is caught in between search for guidance and the struggles of her mother who works at frame factory. I hope that readers can sense the way in which as daughters we seek this guidance from our mothers, but they are caught up sometimes in making sacrifices for us, so much so that it sacrifices the relationship that we could have had. At some point in my life, recently, I realized that my own mother had sacrificed our intimacy and the relationship I wish we could have had, for me and my brother’s everyday survival.


Dancing with my Eyes

I look around and …
I don’t know where I am anymore
I think I’ve lost my way trying to
find my way.

I’ve danced my way through
looking, wandering, feeling my
eyes fixed, feeling cold

I’m asking about you grandma
“Abuela Negra, ¿qué tú miras?”
“‘Toy bailando.” She says while shifting her blind eyes from side to side

“Bailando con mis ojo’”
I look at her glassy eyes and
I see you momma
I’m dancing in your eyes momma
Look at me momma…

I hear you momma:
“Don trost no body”
“Un merengue siempre te hace sentir mejor
…ponte a bailar”
“I fil so lost in da warl”

I hang up the phone
I can’t see you, but I feel you
working, working
working, working, working, working,
working, working

Fixed frames fabricating dreams
watching novelas, factory fantasies
But what happened to me?

I’m fabricated, framed, formulated
cause you said I’d be prettier if I lost half myself
here and there

But I’ve lost me, then found you,
and now you’re lost? Looking to me
to find you?
I’m feeling for you momma,
extending my arms in the dark still looking for you
Using my body to feel through the dark for you
writing on the walls of my body to give energy to you
write my body into light to find

your eyes
fixated on factory fantasies

And it’s in that moment during our trip to see the rest of the world

in the art-filled room of the Louvre

that I truly see her

find her,
hear her,
My eyes are captured by the painting—a classic Monet piece
But her eyes are fixed on the frame her hands once made.


Omaris Zunilda Zamora is an Afro-Dominican feminist scholar born and raised in Chicago. She is the daughter of an immigrant Dominican mother from Bonao, Dominican Republic–a place where she spent her summers and continues to maintain connections with. Zamora’s creative writing and scholarly writing both engage with the experiences of transnational Dominican women, black womanhood, and AfroLatinidad. She is currently a Doctoral candidate of the University of Texas at Austin, but resides in Brooklyn, New York.



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