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by HANNAH LING (Malaysia)

Issue 2.2    August 2020


I believe in the power of words to come flying:
swans whooping as they pass,
children with rain in their hands and eyes and hair,
angsana leaves like ocher snowstorms.

I believe words are awake,
with agency to take on a life
of their own after our lips give them birth.

I believe they move like streams of night,
like tendrils of a dream not everyone has.
I believe they tie cultures and languages and peoples together until we
tear like shredded paper whirling over forgotten tracks.

I believe words can give life and take it,
can sentence this world into paragraphs of pure reason
without mercy, mercy without justice, can force
truth into the mess we make, unapologetic and unafraid,
wild like a thundering herd of storks running across sky.

I believe one day the words will break, rise, take back their being—

in short, rebel
and push our mouths shut
so they can stitch the truth back into reality.

I believe if we give words enough space to work
they can change this world and that sounds
like a dream, and maybe it is. But just ask the words:

They will say yes, we know.
We know you, and we know ourselves,
our limits and our limitlessness,
our potency, our helplessness,
our poverty and our feet treading on the backs of others,
we know all this and we speak it,
we speak it.

Hannah Ling, 15, is a rising sophomore from Malaysia. Growing up in a family where reading, writing, and talking are the norm, she has dealt with words ever since she can remember. Her work has previously appeared in Blue Marble Review.

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