I’d been rehearsing this moment
over and over again in my head
The moment I had to bid everyone goodbye

I thought I was strong
All twenty four year olds should be, right?

But as I stood in front of the gate,
the smile hiding the timid version of myself
crumbled down completely

Because leaving those dear to your heart
would never be easy

was the only word I managed to say
as I cried in my dad’s embrace,
something I would never outgrow
I guess I would always be dad’s little girl

Mom didn’t say much
She never does
She doesn’t need to
because I know
she loves me more than anyone else does

I stared at their faces a little too long,
trying to capture what my camera could not
their fine lines
their familiar scents
their warmth
I wanted to bring with me,
wherever I go

I waved at them for the last time,
hoping the distance between us
would not separate us,
hoping this journey
would all be worth it

Make up

There’s a thin line between
feeling ashamed and having no shame
but you clearly can’t see the line

She is not ashamed
Her jet black winged eyeliner
curved beautifully along the lines
of her black eyes
A testament bolder than your mocking stares

She is not ashamed
Her lips fully painted in shades of red:
scarlet, crimson, and maroon,
running in her blood
A statement louder than your nasty words

Shame on you!
Black tears left permanent marks
on your flawless cheeks
Blood red dripping from your mouth
your words bitter and toxic

“Hey, maybe you need to put on some make-up.”

For the Poet


Hi there

Spring is almost over now
I always knew you liked Spring
you always looked forward to it
more than anyone else did

And I knew you always dreaded the winter months,
not the festive and mirthful Christmas, though
Just the cold chilly winds
and the long, long nights

I wish I could write to you sooner
before the last petal of cherry blossoms fell to the ground
the pale pink fully melted into the ashy brown,
right where it belonged

I’m sorry it took me too long
I was afraid you wouldn’t like how my words turn out,
because there would be a lot of regrets,
an endless list of if onlys

If only I wasn’t so blind to see
when you stood proudly on the stage
under the bright lights illuminating your face
doing your best to live the dream of many,
you were desperately hoping for the nightmare to end

If only I wasn’t so deaf to listen
when you spoke for the voiceless
and listened when no one else did
raising your voice even higher
as the white noise became too loud,
you were silently resigning to the voices in your head

If only I wasn’t so selfish to care
when you wore your heart on your sleeve,
giving love none of us deserved
and asking nothing in return,
you were quietly losing the battle within—all alone

I wish I could tell you sooner
before the last snowflake fell to the ground

that you mattered
you were loved
and you were my pride

I love you, always

Dedicated to the brightest moon in the universe, Kim Jonghyun

A conversation with God

It was dark and quiet
the midnight had long passed
I was sure I wasn’t dreaming
because my thoughts were loud,
but the whispers were even louder

Each whisper lulled me deeper to a light trance,
to all of the places I had been,
to where I had been nothing
before life was breathed into me
a body without a soul,
my still heart was just as fragile
as ever

I would have been still nothing
if I wasn’t meant for this world,
for this life
a soul without eyes,
my vision would have been as blurry
as ever

The one that keeps giving
also keeps taking away
a little bit
in exchange for more
if you humble yourself
if you believe

Once, while the world outside was asleep
I lay awake in my bed,
dried tears visible on my cheeks,
wondering if God was sleeping, too

But I was breathing
and I wasn’t blind,
though my breathing ragged
and my eyes clouded with tears

If only I had been humble
If only I had been a believer
I would have known the answer
without having to ask


I am called many things:
a daughter
a sister
a woman
a best friend
a lover
and the list goes on and on.

The labels weigh on me,
like price tags that determine the prices of things
instead of their true values,
along with instructions, warnings and whatnots.

I guess that’s how we were taught,
to use labels to define ourselves
so we would belong somewhere,
so I would not be the only one
writing with a red pen
in a sea of people using black pens.

I know labels can only do so much,
but once written, they stay forever.
They become you and everything you’re not.

So I took my notepad and started writing.
I can’t trust other people
to write a biography about myself.

They can’t possibly tell what’s unseen:
beneath my skin and clothes,
behind my smiles and glasses—or mascara,
or what’s inside this head of mine.

They can’t write about my struggle
and my suffering
and those nights I spent blaming myself,
wondering why I wasn’t enough,
wondering why I wasn’t like everybody else
in just five short paragraphs.

They would be running out of pages
before they could finish writing about my growth
and my determination
and those days I spent sighing contently to myself
for finally crossing the lines
and breaking free from the have-to’s, suppose to’s, and should’s,
something I should have done a long time ago.

I left a few pages blank on purpose.
There’s still so much to be written, to be told.
Because the moment I stop writing about myself,
someone else will do it.