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What a Shame

Updated: Jan 5, 2023


Artwork by Michelle Dong, staff artist


By Enya Goonetilleke


We spend our lives praying for the impossible.

In our evasion of reality’s grotesque picture

We cloak ourselves in lofty hopes

thin as rice paper

But sweeter than sunshine.

We pray, in tearful whispers before we fall asleep,

For our parents to finally say sorry for fucking us up

the way they did,

For the one that got away to return,

For the rage and unspoken shame

That we masterfully bury in our stomachs

And water with our resentment,

To bloom into kadupul flower beds.


But these are nothing but fairytales.

They disappear into the the blackness of reality

Like wispy smoke from your aunt’s afternoon cigarette.

Because your parents will never believe they did anything wrong,

And will never realize they are as fucked up as you are.

And the one that got away

is happily married,

And you swell with sorrow

and suppressed secrets,

Like a tick that has gorged itself on blood.

And you pray,

That you won’t pass this disease of a mind

Onto your future kids

While accepting that you will

Without even meaning to.


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