Shattered and Scattered All Around

A Canvas of Constellations

I have learned to wander in the sky. To dream in it and find solace in the heavens. To prance on clouds and grasp stars with my fingertips. I always looked up, whether the sky was blanketed with clouds that ripple and undulate like waves, a clear and neverending cerulean sea above, or stormy grey with tears falling from the gods. I could never help but wonder what was out there. An infinite expanse of nothing yet a home to so much.

That night the sky was different, it was late and a few hours past our bedtime. That night the sky was crystalline and glassy. Midnight dark and freckled with white paint. That night we were out of town and we truly saw the scattered lights ourselves for the first time. They illuminated and twinkled like a billion released lanterns against vast and inky velvet. 

That night became a memory, a stagnant image engraved into my soul. Far away from the city, where sparkling stars are visible, where if you listen hard enough you can hear them whispering into the air. On that field where we searched for faces in the stars.

Cassiopeia, a constellation herself, hair spread out on the cool overgrown grass, points them all out for me. Andromeda, Scorpius, Hydra, Cassiopeia. She fabricates a new one, names it after me. Laughter bubbles from our still naive lips and pointer fingers jut up into the air. Liesel! Castor and Aurelia. Delilah! Lilith and Estelle. Lucien! Asteria and Celestia and Callan and Davina and Cassius and Cressida and… 

We stole the sky that day. Turned it into a canvas. We painted it with streaks of gold and silver and midnight blue and we made it our own.

A Letter to Death


You have the worst job of them all, don’t you? The cruelest. The loneliest. The most haunting. 

How do you choose who dies and who lives? Eenie meenie miney mo… if he hollers let him go… 

Do you even choose at all? Or is every human already bound to a life sentence, an hourglass of how much time they have left?

You have a tainted little heart, yearning always for more and never for less. You’re a constant reminder of one’s own mortality. You leave behind heart-wrenching sobs, screams that induce sickening headaches, and hollow eyes. I ask you, are you a rough grip on the waist or a cold embrace? You come into households with the draft and leave with a soul perched in your hands. Where do you carry them all? 

Do you even know who they are? Do you even know who you’ve stolen them from? Does guilt consume your every being when you glance at the humans left behind? Do their sobbing screams ring in your ears for years afterward? Do their shattered hearts and crumbled faces of realization and anguish haunt you too?

For years I’ve cursed you and condemned you, though I know that does nothing to ward your wrath away. For years I’ve witnessed the splinters and fragments you’ve left behind. For years I’ve dreaded when I come face to face with you, I’ve panicked when I felt your phantom creeping closer to my roof.

Death, you’re unfair, unfair, but then again how could you ever be fair? Is it fair to put the blame on you? For you’re not the one who’s malevolent, you’re not the one who’s cruel. You’re simply a result. A result of plagues, of accidents, of brutality, of humankind itself.

Death, I’m not afraid of you but I don’t think I’ll ever truly be ready to inevitably meet you either. Not when you come for myself or for another. But when you do, maybe by then I’ll have lived enough to accept you, maybe even be grateful for what your presence has made me realize about our finite lives. Maybe by then, I’ll understand.

Folklore Carved Into My Bones

There’s a garden nestled behind a quaint house, far far away from here, wherever here is. There’s a garden that disappears and reappears and chimes haunting melodies and lets in only the ones with folklore carved in their bones. There’s a garden with musical flowers dripping with morning dew, tangled vines that obscure the sun yet do nothing to catch sobbing rain, and microscopic footprints pressed in the dirt between mountains of rock. There’s a garden with heavy silence, barring for the echo of wind chimes and the soft whistle of brittle wind, and comfortable loneliness and warm cups of tea and battered books. There’s a garden whose life still prospers despite its foreboding mood. There’s a garden that still whispers my name even after all these years. 

The garden belongs to an old woman. Angelina, with long grey hair all tied up in a bun and ashen grey eyes that shine iridescent when the sun seldom hits. Angelina, who sees phantoms, who dances and dines and deals with them, who grows herbs and whispers enchantments into the wind. Angelina, who walks through the gate into the garden every Sunday morning, and when she ambles back inside, drawing the curtains, it fades. It spins and it whirls until everything blurs into tones, and it’s nothing. Used to be something. But nothing anymore. Something. Nothing. Something. Nothing. Nothing. Until it’s something once more.

Rebecca Who Dreams

Down the street, a dark house, still as a tomb, dwells. Only one window shines yellow light that pours like honey onto the road. Within the heart of that single lit room, tattered books stack up on night tables, stools, and overcrowded bookshelves. Sat before an old and worn-down wooden desk, Rebecca dreams up different worlds, worlds where she is free to soar and laugh. She writes poetry with flowery words and surreal imagery. She writes prose with worlds where malicious dragons glide through omniscient clouds, where she is just a normal girl and meets a dark-haired, green-eyed boy, or perhaps worlds where she lives in a moving castle in a fantastical land. Anything to distract her from this world.

Rebecca stares out the window with a smirk on her face every crack of dawn (which usually raises suspicion to anyone who walks by, when in reality, she is merely in the sky). When she is allowed outside (which is rarely ever, which probably is the reason she is how she is), she shakes the sky and cackles like a madwoman. A madwoman, that’s what they call her. But Rebecca, Rebecca who is wise beyond her years, yet who still possesses the heart of a young child, dances through it all.

One day she’ll get out, I know that for a fact. One day she’ll dream up worlds in a sea-side cottage rather than an attic. One day she’ll be free to live.

Where is Home?

Born to two immigrants, growing up in an immigrant family, I quickly became familiar with a certain silent kind of suffocation. A plague that strikes in waves, no matter how many years it has been, no matter how many times it is repeated that a particular place is not missed. It’s called homesickness. Homesickness, whether for a home that never was, a home lost, or a home left behind.

As evening gives away into the night, and we lay tangled under the sheets, I whisper, asking what it was like. What was it like to be torn from a country, a haven, a homeland? What was it like to be ripped from a familiar life, forced to start all over again? How hard must it have been to leave the only home you’ve ever known, forced to never look back? To attempt to learn an entirely new language just to fit in, just to realize that you never truly will? To be rooted by an unwavering stubbornness to hold on and hold on, grip tighter and tighter, yet the thread still begins to slip away from sweaty hands? To be burdened with a wandering soul that belongs to a place so far out of reach, it no longer belongs to any place at all?            

I never truly understood the answers then, and perhaps I never will. Not the way so many others do. But I don’t wish to ever do either. That defeats the whole purpose of what happened then, after all.

Melted Wings and Mustard Seeds

One day I’ll find a home that’s all my own. Not just a house, but a home. A home in the clouds where I’m free to let my vines grow wild and spread once clipped back eagle wings. Where I’m free to fly further and higher to the sun and the moon and the stars.  

But eventually, I’ll come back, I’ll come back to say thank you. Thank you to the haven that built me up from barren ground. Thank you to the people I left behind in pursuit of more.

Or maybe that strike, that pang of loss and homesickness will pierce me before I can fly too far. Maybe my wings will melt in the sun’s radiating heat and send me plummeting down, back to my first home, my refuge.

Regardless, I’ll come back one day. I’ll come back to where my mustard seed was first planted, where my roots dug steady and firm, where I first broke the surface of heavy soil. You can’t just leave that all behind. I’ll come back with more, with salvation. I’ll come back to bring them all along too. 

They say home is where the heart is. But my heart is shattered and scattered all around.

One thought on “Shattered and Scattered All Around

  1. This is so poetic–I know well it is grounded in reality, but you’ve weaved the words in such a way that makes it fantastical and surreal. It’s unlike anything I’ve read so far. I want a book of short poems and brief prose, all written out just like this.


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