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Poem: Kindred


By Ushi Patel


Photo By: Jaimin Desai


I originally wrote this poem in gratitude to my great grandparents, grandparents, and parents. They were all hard-working immigrants and their sacrifices and vision opened the way for the life and choices I have today. Let me never forget that we stand on the shoulders of silent giants.

One day I was browsing in a small shop on Maiden Lane in San Francisco. For those unfamiliar with this shopping mecca, Gary Kamiya from the San Francisco Chronicle describes, “From the 1870s until 1896, this little street was one of downtown’s most notorious brothel alleys, filled on Saturday nights with drunken men doing business with the women who presented themselves in street-level windows.” Today Maiden Lane is host to a slew of luxury retailers and there I was uncomfortably trying on exquisitely designed clothes for an upcoming poetry event that would never zip in the right ways. The young, kind gentleman that was helping me pull sizes was curious about the poetry. So I recited this poem, Kindred, for him. He cried. As did his colleague.
Then, with courage and candor each shared their struggles as immigrants, he Cambodian and she Uzbek. When I chose that poem in the moment I had no idea it would resonate so strongly. But then, they always do.

With love and admiration, this one goes out to immigrants in all places. Journey on..!




yours is a solemn journey,
as you navigate
an unknown fate,
by the light of
your lineage
and the promise
of freedom,
willing to let go,
knowing what is dear
lives on within,
ready for any sacrifice
and the gifting of
who can barely
pronounce your name.


– Ushi Patel

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