Alter Ego

Alter Ego

by Victoria G. Smith


Mother, since your death,

I swim in and out of you
like water through gills—
a recurring dream of the dreamer
recurring in the dream.

I grab and shake you, screaming
Enough of this! Time to change!
But my voice gets caught in a net
of tangled emotions and drowns
as you slink back into the ocean.

I wake up clutching
sweat-soaked sheets, red
crescent marks dug into my palms.

I drink from my cupped hand, catching
your image in the bathroom mirror
watching me from the dark
cesspools of my eyes.


I won’t let me be
your mistake
repeating itself.

I spit a mouthful.


Philippine-born, award-winning writer and poet, Victoria G. Smith’s first career was in law practice in Manila. After marriage to an American that led her to immigrate to the United States, she rediscovered and pursued a childhood passion: creative writing.

Her first book of poems, Warrior Heart, Pilgrim Soul: An Immigrant’s Journey, was published in November 2013 to critical acclaim. Kirkus Reviews spearheaded praise for the collection, describing it as “cohesive… boldly address(es) the beauty and ugliness of life… in grand sweeping language… (R)eaders will delight in… original perspectives on well-worn tropes… A forceful poetic expression of art and the self.”

Her essay, “Gatekeepers and Gatecrashers in Contemporary American Poetry: Reflections of a Filipino Immigrant Poet in the United States,” appears in Black Lawrence Press’ 2015 anthology, Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America.

Her fiction first gained U.S. recognition in 2004 when her short story, “Portrait of the Other Lady,” won first place in the nationwide Ventura County Writers’ Club/Ventura County Star-sponsored short story contest. This was the first time she’d entered a writing contest. The Ventura County Star published her short story and an interview of her.

She writes a monthly poetry column for the print and online magazine, VIA Times. Her poetry has been published in Lyrical Iowa, Dicta (University of Michigan Law School Literary Journal), and other arts and literary publications. She has poems forthcoming in The Milo Review and The Earthbound Review.

She is the author of Pieces of Dreams and Other Stories, a story collection consisting of four novelettes and a novella, and is currently finishing her first novel, Gabriela’s Eyes.

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