These three poems by Erica Welter portray life as an Adoptee, a survivor risking ridicule and exile to defiantly join the chorus of denied Adoptee voices…
by: Erica Welter
Portrait of an Adoptee Upon Seeing a Family You all look the same, eerily; your mother’s eyes painted in your skull. Your pieces were molded in mother nature’s bloody factory – ancestry’s ancient conveyer belt. You’re hodgepodge twins melted together like plastic doll parts, ends liquified and joined; living replicants of different generations. DNA the epoxy, gluing parentage together; fused skins and legs and hair I find disturbing because you all look the same, but nobody looks like me.
An Adoptee Hoped I never saw my native womb. I was purged then taken away before I could open my eyes. Agents issued documents saying I’d been elsewhere. Still, I daydreamed, about her hands, about the shape of her face, about the way she held cups. I wondered if she was like me. I fantasized about being seated in a stark room alone, waiting for her to come to me, waiting as I’d been that Thursday in June. In my fantasy the door opens. I see her for the first time, discover my reflection in her eyes, my place in this world. I understand I’m not unique. I know the warmth of belonging. I searched for her. I emptied my pockets and spent all my time. When I found her, the door was closed and locked. She was already dead.
An Adoptee in a Texas Desert I was born in a garden but abandoned in a desert and I spent years staring at mirages searching for reflections of myself. I grew hungry and ate prickly pears, but the pulp was slippery, so I sunk my teeth into it; the acrid juice burned. I cried and the fruit sweetened. The garden became the mirage, and I saw an oasis on the horizon. Every time I take a step forward it moves backward an equal step.
Erica Welter is an Adoptee and an Adoptee rights advocate. She is a graduate student in English at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she serves as editor for The Pick, has work forthcoming from the Manchac Review, and has served as editorial assistant for Louisiana Literature.