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There Was No Lace in Nottingham

I participated in the UW English Department’s Summer in London program in Summer 2018.  

I wrote this poem when I came back home, as a type of self-reflection on my experience in that specific city. Prior to my trip, I was set on certain things I wanted to see, purchase, and try in England, within the short span of time I had there. Additionally, I went to great strides to perfect my flaws beforehand, in order to display a new persona in a new country. What I want readers to take away from this poem is the question, when you’re alone and by yourself, do you like you? Travel is the perfect place to discover whether you are comfortable in your identity, which is why I am such a voucher for self-discovery via travel.

North of London, there is a city knitted into the landscape behind River Trent.                                   1
It’s a place where they salt their fish and chips,
and allow you to squeeze lemon and vinegar all over the fried cod
Instead of London’s congested, bland blubber.

The intention of this weekend excursion                                                                                              4
was to find a lace scarf, or lace ribbon,
or just half a yard of the fabric to bring home.
I planned to feel it and wrap my head in it
or attach them to the windows of my home
So I could twirl into them like a spinning wheel and shawl myself
letting each piece of my fat and muscle stencil against the holey material
while looking through its’ white, mesh-like net.
I imagined delicate, web-like flurries
made of thread
darning the English cobble streets of the city.
I pictured warehouses of snowy seams
filled with machines that could sew hundreds of yards at a time
as I walked down, what was called, Lace Market.
Alas, none. no lace.

Later that evening, I walked into my hotel bedroom                                                                           19
defeated in my quest for lace.
Yet, the material was embedded into the curtains near the side of my bed,
facing a window with a view of a neighboring brick building
where the muffin top view of the sky was colored Van Gogh pink,
mixed with bits of light, so yellow, it looked white.
These lace curtains didn’t exactly block the light
from hitting the room, like a curtain should.
Across from the curtains was a mirror,
And I stared, hoping my body had trimmed from the days of walking,
but it was the same,
And I wondered if I was happy with that.
Why did I want lace in the first place?
It would probably tear in my backpack on the way home.
It’s delicate, like cutting paper snowflakes in an elementary classroom before winter break.
It’s pretty, but only lasts so long once touched.
When by itself, with no one to admire it,
It just sits there without purpose.

The next day, I stepped out of my cotton pajamas, naked in the mirror                                          37
The knots of Nottingham stitched into my veins with a tightened beauty of my solitary self.

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