Author Feature - August 2021
Yong Takahashi is the author of Rising and The Escape to Candyland. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. She was awarded Best Pitch at the Atlanta Writers Club Conference.
The featured poems are from Yong’s poetic memoir that will be published in 2021.
Her second short story collection will be published in 2022.
To learn more about Yong, visit: https://linktr.ee/yctwriter
Waiting outside my classroom in the morning,
I braced myself as a boy spit on me.
His friends slanted their eyes, sang songs about
my dirty knees, flat chest, and laughed.
Some would throw rocks or snowballs.
I imagined howling through the woods,
running away as quickly as my little feet would allow.
But I didn’t move, hoping they would lose interest.
Wiped the saliva and humiliation off my face,
and carried on with the rest of my day.
I’m still amazed how that little girl went back
day after day and although she wished
so much to evaporate from the world,
I collected tears in a jar
Prayed for salvation from the stars
Mended my ancient cuts
Hoping for miracles from dust
I waited for someone to save me
Harder on myself than others can be
Hiding from my own reflection
Not believing it was the greatest vision
Found I’m the best version of self
Let all the negativities melt
Decided I want to be here
And conquered all my fears
I searched for the light within
Learned only I can fight for the win
Dug down deep inside
To find where strength lies
I’ve been shivering so long I didn’t know I was cold until you came along offering your love as a soft, warm blanket to shield me from the world. All my life, I wandered with strangers thinking they were family. Raised by wolves, I fended off demons alone. Not knowing who to trust, I stayed with predators who barely kept me alive. They led me astray while picking my soul clean. Their smiles glistened while they gutted me from the inside out. My blood fertilized their crops as they leeched my own dreams.
One day you appeared from the sky. You opened your arms, waiting for me to take my first timid step toward salvation. You told me you will be there if I fall or need help walking to the next stage. I see you in the distance but I’m still unable to move. But for the first time, I don’t want to run and hide.