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Serena Lee: Poetry Collection

imposter syndrome

on worse days i look at myself

in the tall blurry mirror

and i can’t recognize the person staring back at me

like a vacant vessel of someone who hasn’t yet revealed themselves

i see a shipwreck, a hollow boat with skeletons and treasure

so rusted that it can hardly be considered sellable,

so dull that my eyes ache for the glimmering gold lost to the raging sea

if i reach far back enough

behind my eyes, hidden beneath the top of my head

will i find who i truly am?

am i a mind trapped in this mechanism we call a skeleton?

or is my mind a lucky commodity gifted to my sack of skin

from a benevolent creator?

something about this skin

checkered with pores and bicycle scars

feels like the softest cage

my ribcage encages my traitorous heart,

blood vessels wind around my entire being

like unwanted bondage and thrumming pain

who am i if not for the skin i sleep in?

if not the for the bundle of bones i see

in every x-ray scan i take?

who am i if i no longer recognize it?


i wish i couldn’t look at myself in the mirror

because it hurts whenever i do

the sharp perusal of my eyes stings as it glazes over

my stretch marks, my hip dips

the craters in my pelvis and the craters in my face

when i stretch it into an elastic, slippery smile

bullets stream out of my pupils

sneaking out like silent tears

puncturing my upturned nose, my circular cheeks

the tears -the bullets- trickle down my body

unashamed of their blatant touches as they circle

my round stomach, my flat chest

i shake with the force of it

and the tears -the bullets- fall




their descent as silent as my heartbreak

as they fall into the endless pit we call tartarus

where i stand suspended over

like a helpless damsel with no knight, no prince

more bullets fire from my almond eyes

laughing like haunting demons as they too

explore my hideous body

i wish i couldn’t look at myself in the mirror

because it hurts whenever i do.

About the Author:

Serena is a Korean-American sophomore living in Cambodia. When she’s not writing poetry,

you can find her reading, playing soccer, or playing discordant notes on her piano.

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