62 pages 2 hours read

Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | YA | Published in 2018

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Symbols & Motifs

Xiomara’s Baby Bracelet

In an early poem in the novel, Xiomara writes about her baby bracelet while describing what it’s like to be born to older parents. In the same stanza, she describes the bracelet, engraved on one side with her name and, on the other, the phrase mi hija (“my daughter” in Spanish). It is her “favorite gift” (20) as a child, but it becomes “a despised shackle” (20) as Xiomara grows up and matures into an independent-minded teenager whose hopes are very different from the dreams of her devoutly Catholic mother. Xiomara’s comparison of the bracelet to a shackle suggests that she feels handcuffed to her mother; from this trapped position, Xiomara fights against the restraint until she hurts herself and her mother.

As a surprise, Mami presents Xiomara with the bracelet on Christmas Eve, when “most Latinos celebrate” (289) and exchange gifts. Because they are in the midst of a conflict, Xiomara does not expect any gifts from her parents. When Mami gives Xiomara this unexpected present, she experiences mixed feelings. The baby bracelet has been resized for an adult wrist and it reminds both Xiomara and Mami of simpler times, when Xiomara was young and malleable and Mami was able to maintain her ideals about her daughter.