dark, cold, and damp

she sits curled in her precious cave,

glistening with stalagmites of red blood.

the city roars symphonies

of honks and screeches

yet she exists in a dark universe

so close, yet so distant.

small, and nothing more than a tiny beating heart,

she patiently waits in her mother’s uterus,

lungs awaiting their first breath.

ii. thirteen. thirteen candles wrap the room

in a warm glowy light

sparking what is a chain of memories

spanning thirteen years outside her cave.

thirteen. the wax dripping off thirteen candles stains my cake

as blood stained on the pale linen of my pants that day.

that day, a sun of blood rose from a sea of white,

as taunts of



“Ooh, you’ve finally reached womanhood.”

stained my conscience beyond repair, for the same paint that painted

the walls of my first home — their first home —

has become a cruel subject of ridicule.


the daggers they threw at me at 13 harm me no more

for it is the same blood

that has bathed him in his mother’s womb;

that created a life out of nothing.

it is the same blood

that will bathe his daughters

it is also the same blood that will shame his daughters.

into fear, submission, and hiding.

into an endless abyss of self-hatred and self-consciousness.

no longer do I fear the rising red sunrise that appears every moon;

instead, I greet it, embracing all it means

to be female.

This poem first appeared in Ayaskala Literary Magazine

Poet: Sena Chang

Sena Chang is a musician, poet, and artist. In addition to writing poetry related mainly to her Asian heritage and Kafkaesque scenarios, Chang is the founder of The Pandemic of ‘20 Project. There, she seeks to give a voice to Tokyo’s youth through creative writing and other mediums of art. Her most recent works have appeared or are forthcoming in Raised Brow Press and The International Educator, amongst others. Find her on social media: Instagram: _senachang, Twitter: __senachang

Edited By: Divya Rosaline