who had begun running much too fast 

much too early

head down against the wind 

that so desperately wanted to drag you backwards

it only made you dig your heels deeper into dirt 

the dirt which nurtured your sad little seed 

and allowed it to push through the soil 

the soil 

that didn’t seem 

to want to part itself for you 

you kept working at it nonetheless

relentless, relentless, relentless, 

until you finally saw the sun 

for the first time

even then

with good weather 

comes bad weather 

when the bad weather came you had no choice but

to capture the stormy residue 

in your limbs

remember what you were doing this for. 

eat away at the greys of your joints 

until it became gasoline for the bruised and bleeding soles of your feet. 

they didn’t give you shoes, 

no clothes at all; 

skin had no choice but to harden, 

protect your gentle heart 

from the burdens of pointing fingers 

nasty words, 






is there so much of it 

you once asked. 

you now know why.

because they were afraid of what you may become.

all the cruel arrows of the universe 

aiming for your achilles heel 

but they couldn’t pierce it could they? your skin so armour tough. 

the five o’clock shadows, 

the aching fatigue, 

the crying stomach 

which you didn’t have enough time to feed, 

didn’t have enough heart to feed, 

didn’t have enough means to feed. 

swollen eyes which had forgotten the colour of home, 

the scent of home

the sound of home

the feeling of home

you had to create your own

with different shampoos

and detergents

discover your own sound

like the humpbacks do

searching for their one true love

paint new colours for yourself

to match the shades of the bruises 

that littered your knees

greys and blues and an aching that reminded yourself 

that you

are not 


but then as they heal 

(time does that)

you are also reminded

that you are not weak,


you’d made a decision

as one does living in a world

and so you continue to keep running forwards




how else are you to repay yourself for getting this far? 

to give thanks to your heart

once a large empty bowl

now filled with a warm home-cooked meal

you share with those that have stuck by you

through it all. 

those who provided you the ingredients

a fire to cook over, 

a reason to be. 


who were all at once too big for yourself 

and too small for yourself 

when all you wanted was to fill the universe 

with all of you

until you were oozing out of it’s cracks

because even something so infinite 

couldn’t contain 

what you were going to become

and what you continue to become. 

now you’ve got infinite living in the warm depths of your eyes

stars and oceans and galaxies and countless possibilities

all settled comfortably and softly in the hug that is you

the forehead kiss that is you

rosy cheeks that is you

fireworks that is you

gentle wave that is you

the you 

that is you.


Written by Ivy Feng and edited by Yiyang Cao. Published on 30/7/2023. Header image by Emma Li.

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