Desperately clutching a hope that proved false,

face contorted into a smile like a 

wilting lycoris as words landed 

with a heavy blow to the gut… 


Organs were compressed tightly against the 

rib cage, constricting breaths. Rage 

ignited and bloomed 

like a fiery rose, 

its thorns tearing through the insides… 

As quickly as it bloomed, 

it withered away. 


Walking into a minefield blindfolded 

convinced it is safe. 

Gulping down sweet poison 

convinced it is bliss. 

Unfocused, and yet remaining fixated on 

numerous distractions while dancing and 

crying on the tip of a 


ice bridge.


Screams of the wretched 

echoed in ears; head throbbed and lingered 

like a hollow gun barrel

pointed aimlessly. Heart-wrenching 

screams pierced through as claws dug into throat. 


It wasn’t the ire I couldn’t withstand, 

but the weight of the poisonous butterflies 

that sunk deeper and deeper into my stomach, 

wrenching my heart. 


Other gardens are cultivated 

with blooming flowers filled with vibrant colours, 

while my heart and roses are eaten by aphids 

withering in the shadow of neglectance. 


Pacing around restlessly, the soft carpet fibres 

were trampled into twisted knots 

and flattened trails. Memory reel rolled, 

rewinding and replaying…

Wish the three sisters could rewind their thread 

to make up for past deeds. 


Words with broken wings 

tumbled out of mouth; while beautiful phrases 

that yearned to be expressed soared 

beyond reach. Prayed for the sharp blade 

to sever tongue and feed it 

to the dogs, so the blood would purge 

of shameful 



Begging for sleep: dried tears on parched eyes 

and cracked lips. Drained,

to the point where hallucinations in the dark

came to light. Like having blood 

drained through neck, no words crept out, 

for lips were sewn shut / by an iron thread 

of fear

and angst. 


Distant memories floated before disintegrated 

and were swept away by the wind. Although the lake 

in the mindless desert proved a mirage, solace 

was found within the shade 

of the desert sage.


Written by Vanessa Li and edited by Josephine Sim. Published on 9/7/2023. Art by Emma Li.

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