A World of Glass
By Cathy Sheng
I’ve always had glasses, to me it offers me separation, protection in a world full of chaos and injustices. This is a poem about overcoming vulnerabilities, seeing the unfiltered world, and molding a better world.
The world is full of glass Pairs upon pairs balanced on my wobbling head Cowering behind them at school Making bean-like indents into my nose Trying to disappear behind them A shield Leaking tears outline my face Bloody streams from hidden wounds My insides tighten like a readied weapon Battling against the ceaseless storm Shards of glass slice off my vulnerabilities Glass grips my heart An impenetrable case Drowning I sink below the weight of Glass Glass Glass So many glass walls Untouchable surfaces Unbreakable barriers Unchangeable laws Glasses upon all our heads To shut out atrocities Bear the wretchedness with a covered eye Perceive a better vision in our jagged world Mute our presence Beautiful in each of our own ways Our unique cultures, an ornament of pride Our ancestry, a story we carry in our heart Our language, a mesmerizing song But glasses are breakable, the world is not static No need for correcting glasses to adjust our society The world was not meant to be experienced through plexiglass We cannot fix our society By looking through a rose-colored lens Lose ourselves in false illusions Dreamy mirages do not mend flaws A world through warped filters Is a glass prism without colors In the vision of equity, Places are carved for us all No matter our origin, no matter our roots There’s beauty in all identities, we shall Discover and share Care and empathize Equalize and accept Use affection not bigoted division to orbit the world The world is full of glasses One by one I yearn to take them off Step out from the shadowed security of glasses Perceive the world in all its vividness Dims and glows Stitch a better world for diversity Vision by vision
Girls Write Now On the Other Side of Everything: The 2023 Anthology
Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
After a series of poetry writing exercises, I fell in love with the flexibility of the form. I wrote about my friends, my brothers, my favorite office supplies. I really enjoyed being able to use a single ordinary item to illuminate larger themes like equity and anxiety.
This poem went through multiple drafts, getting deeper and deeper the more I dug into this idea of glasses as a metaphor for how we hide, how we see, how we admire the world around us. They have the potential to offer total clarity, just as much as they have the potential to warp our perspective.
Cathy Sheng is a sophomore in California. She loves a good thriller, sci-fi book, is a complete Debussy fan and is oftentimes pulling pranks on her brothers left and right. Hope to explore more genres of writing and tap into her more creative side this year through Girls Write Now!