Andino Styles

Artist and Writer

The Writing Artist- Nia Andino

Tribal Braid by Nia Andino

This past weekend at a New York City Latina Writer's Group workshop and panel, I was approached by a writer who said I looked familiar. I assumed it was from images of art that I’ve posted or shown since that is what most people connect me to. But she surprised me in saying it was from a poem I read at La Casa Azul 2 years ago. The poem was about a birthmark and my cultural lineage. This young woman said it inspired her to do a similar poem using her own culture and she promised to show it to me soon. So today, I share with you the poem I read that day titled Markings.





This ring,

 this irregular oval plays round robin on my right shin

 Epidermis knotted several shades darker than the rest like burnt umber on redwood

 This mark of my birth has crossed legs for generations

 I imagine it extends further claiming my maternal bloodline as the descendants of

African royalty

 much like my gap toothed smile

 A native smear of pigmented earth denoting Arawak origins

 It is the result of intentional scarring in the shape of a shaman finger

saying you are mine

 I've pressed my own

 against its smooth eye

 Watched it peer back at me through a void of brown

 It remains unchanged

 unlike the rest of me

 It is the tip of my ancestors cane steadying me

The last part touched upon my leg as I was birthed

 It is the tongue of guardians preparing my wounds

 My blood was bred for centuries

 Shipped from Sahara sands to oceanfront with jutted ledge

 And I was built with bloodlet eggs

 as a reminder of when to create

and when to destroy

 ~ Nia Andino ~


Andino Styles © 2016