“Independence Day” by Eunice Pak


I punched the glass window the other day

and the cracked shards screamed and snapped at me back.

“Well aren’t you being a tyrant; now

we will seize and swallow your hateful hand.”

I was kind of sad at that because I

didn’t mean any harm. But the shards, they


attacked and pulled my palm apart. Gnawed, they

chewed, they bit down hard. Splintered my tall days,

emptied out my gush, gutter-heart. I

guess I didn’t like that; my fist reeled back,

but the red was pooling from my hands

and my mother was stamping bands flat. Now


I told her, “I can fight with my fists now,

you don’t have to hold me back. It’s what they

deserve anyway for hurting my hand.”

I thought I made sense, but after a day

I was swept away into the bland white, back

here again. Shards fell from my eyes and I


wiped them away. I felt my sight sting. I

hurled my hand at my face. All is still now,

and the wall is pushing against my back.

I elbow it, but what can I do. They

will roll me back flat. Any day. Today.

Unless I push through these bands. Use my hand


to push them all away. Mother, don’t handle

me like you always like to do. Hey, I

can make my own now, I can make my day.

I even found the door. I chop wood now;

you can’t get in my way. And neither can they.

Watch me now, Mother, watch my beaten back


tear into day. I can see it now: you will back

into the house when you hear the knocking hands,

and you will cry into your palms as they

talk of foul play. How I walked through walls I

peeled away. How I met with glass, now

crying on the floor, blood tears run all day.


But day shines at me. I will never go back.

And no, I don’t feel bad for my bloody hands.

I wanted to fight this fight. And so did they.


Poems curated by FORTH poetry editors.

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