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
Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology
For more than two years, our young writers have weathered an adolescence shaped by an ongoing global pandemic. But a harsh climate can also produce work of rare depth, complexity, nuance and humor. The Girls Write Now mentees in this collection have found new ways to build community and take root. This anthology is a catalog of seeds—each young writer cultivating a shimmering, emergent voice. In short stories, personal essays, poetry, and more, they reflect on life-altering topics like heartbreak, self-care and friendship. The result is a stunning book with global relevance of all this generation has endured and transformed.
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!