poetry

Dreams

by Heidi Wong
New York City, and Hong Kong

This poem is about reclaiming my independence after someone broke my trust. In the end, I wanted to show that it’s fundamental, especially to a mistreated woman, to find power within herself– through her independence, and through her words. I made the ending purposefully ambiguous– “this is what you did to me” could refer to the fact that the speaker was once “clean” and is now not, or the fact that the speaker is now “ugly, disproportionate, monstrous, strong, and stunning.”

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Painting by Netanel Moran

 dreams

the air feels cold again 
like it did when we 
walked across the curved crossroad and
left winding footprints
buried in blinding snow 

the earth seemed to be peeling off her color then 
folding the summer back into her freshman suitcase  

now the days we’ve spent 
rise within me like a storm
tell me 
does she know the way you twitch in your sleep 
can she recognize how you walk 
from a darkened silhouette moving miles away tell me
who 
else
knows the exact way your tone changes
when you believe wholeheartedly 
in everything you’re saying
and are still lying  

because i’m convinced
with every part of my being
a woman knows when a man cheats  

she knows it 
not only in her heart but in her
gut
in the space within her chest that splintered 
when she feared to be
yet was
proven right 
in the pit of her stomach where she might’ve held your future 
in the hollowed arena of her ribcage that
will never stop grieving 
in her spine which her mother cradled  
shielding her  

from what the years could do 
in her pulse which her daughters will feel in sync with theirs 
in every woman that came before her
trying desperately to scrape through the dirt
love is here
we say
despite my aunt blaming herself when he 
stopping coming to her chemo sessions and instead
spent a little more time with the girl who had 
flowing ebony hair 
despite my best friend crumbling in the kitchen 
scrolling furiously on a static screen to find what she
must’ve been missing 
we want to believe i 
want
to believe
love can exist even when we see only her absence   

so i’ll let her bruise her knees on your bed frame
the way i did 
saturday night 
after the rock concert by a band we both listened to in middle school  
and i won’t 
through subtle glances and unpublished thoughts 
reach for her hand to say 
i know i should hate you but i just 
don’t  

i know he’s a dream 
only a dream you never want to wake up from   

when the blood seeps through your mattress and he
struts around campus like a hunter
adept enough to kill an animal with 
one shot to the head you 
won’t want to wake up when he
makes you question if your voice echoes too loud
emotions appear 
too ugly 
too disproportionate
too monstrous to fit into a doll sized body you 
won’t want to wake up when he 
shaves off the rebellion in you 
mounts a submissive smile in its place you 
will not want to wake up  

it’s always easier to rest in comatose 
than to stand and fight alone  

yet sometimes we fear loneliness so much 
we’d put our pain on hold 
to hold someone else’s world together  

did you even notice
when i prepared a meal with my own flesh 
so you wouldn’t go hungry 
just to hear you had already eaten  

here
love
you have the spotlight now
and still no one knows your name  

i’ll wield poetry as a weapon
scar the manhattan skyline 
i’ll be ugly 
disproportionate
monstrous 
strong
stunning  

once 
i was clean and delicate like december snow and this
is what you did to me

-(h.w.)


ig_icon MEET THE POET:

My name is Heidi Wong and I am 19 years old. This poem was unspeakably important to me, as it epitomized why I write poetry in the first place. Poetry is something that chooses you– you do not choose it. The process of writing this poem was infinitely painful, but afterwards it’s as if I physically became lighter. Writing can save us. I believe this with every word I put down on paper, because no matter what happens, writing is the one consistent factor which alleviates what life can do to us. 

 


 

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