68

I’ve been in pursuit of success
so much that I wouldn’t recognize it
if it were handed to me.

Aspirations that grew into
expectations, malignant
and expanding beyond me
everyday.

I’ve always feared broke billions.
Debt free but benign,
nothing past due and yet
no memories to share.

For all the times I bought tickets
and figured out the details later,
let’s promise to make time for
the things that make us rich
even if they don’t
make us money.

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67

Find discomfort in the hem
of your occasion dress
zips on the side–
boys left behind
gawking at the sheer sight
of your lacy best.

Have you ever entered
a room filled,
familiar-faced
but not acquainted enough to
strike the ice?

All dressed up, nowhere to go
you arrive and yet
feel uninvited before
opening your lipstick mouth.

Surface-level small-talk: to
ask questions of others, to
keep conversation alive
I wonder if they sense my
mild polite engagement
as attention nonetheless.

My discomposure
a child nagging at my leg
pulling the sewn thread
and unravelling until I look
as naked as I feel.

66

I’ve watched house plants
both die and return home
time and time again.

What strength it is
to try again every Spring;
jostled back to life
by sheer nature alone
just when I was ready
to bury them.

Oh, the times I have found
myself so forgiving
the very course of how things
were meant to be
my branches flit away
a little lighter than before.

Unburdened by another’s opinion,
trusting in this process
to die and wither and believe
that I’ll spring back
when I’m ready.

 

As 2018 comes to an end, I hope all of you take the time to reflect on all your accomplishments, your hardships, your successes and your shortcomings with equal love and adoration for both the good and the bad that got you here. May your Resolutions be achievable, self-loving, and fulfilling.

Chúc mừng năm mới!

Love,
ELLE

65

Holidays used to horrify
my sanity and sensibility.
The last minute scramble
to be cuffed to a decent man
of decent values to decently
satisfy my family’s questions.

To be presented at the
dinner table, served
as arm candy
dressed to impress.
With or without a man
I’m the appetizer, the entrée, the dessert
I’m not a plus one.

I am a worthy dinner guest
to any evening soiree.
I’m fine on my own, thank you
frankly, I’m wonderful company.

64

As a child, I
left notes to future me
strewn about, recalling
a version of myself
that left quietly in the night.

We used to make time capsules
and fill them with trinkets we swore
we’d want to remember someday.

Funny how that changes
from reminding you of your
most prized possession
to even just the smell
of dew at the public park
you fell in love at
nearly a decade ago.

My hands, reaching out
passenger side window
I wish I could’ve bottled
the dew on my hands
and kept that freedom
in a jar
to remind me of even
the smallest of memories.

63

IMG_0833

Sagittarius in the stars
etched in my arm
a symbol of honesty, integrity, resilience
I’ve often attributed to my successes.
My mother always told me that
I was luck itself since birth
and everyday since.

Car rides would never catch
red lights
events would align just right
if only I was there for it.

Like the shimmer at the top
of our Christmas tree
I yearned to glow as bright
as the expectations I was
born into.

The archer, the achiever
if the ground ever felt too hard
and the days passing seemed just
far from grasp
anchor yourself in the stars that
predisposed your path
all those years ago
and what is still to come.