The 2020 Issue: Poetry Roundup

Each issue we feature pieces of prose and poetry from Asian women around the world. Here are this issue’s pieces!

“Online Social Justice Warrior” by Elena George-Jones

I’m a uni student stuck at home in these harsh times
Christmas is coming, but I’ve still got assignments
I’ll be working all break, and working after it too
My 21st will be in lockdown, and so… will valentines day
And I’ll be back in uni before the rest of February
Social justice warrior only online
People forget that mixed can mean Asian and white
They forget all the time, tired from having to remind
Other countries exist, outside,
Of China and Japan and Korea
I should know, half my family has their
Roots in Sri Lanka
It’s a teardrop country off the edge of India
And I’ve researched its history for class
I’ve been disconnected with the culture for so long
Now I’ve an opportunity I’m not going to pass
Been learning how to make chicken biryani
And rice with the saffron
Been learning how to make proper roti
Been trying to fight for feminism, lgbt and racial rights in my own every day life
Hope educating every age, is the step in the right way, to a better life


“The Storm Within” by Nimisha Sharma

I accept the storms within myself,
they are my armour of strength.
I accept the mountains on my back,
it’s the love I’ve chosen to carry.
I embrace the rainbows within my heart,
they’re my songs of hope for when the storm passes.


“L O V E” by lee 이 therese // IG: @nat_lee__therese 

Honey jar child, you are loved 
Loved more than the gold rumored to be at the end of rainbows You are something sweet, 
You came to this earth and heralded Spring 
Sun colored kid, dance on your new feet 
Tree bark child, you are loved 
Loved more than the money made from trees 
You are something like home, 
You came from the forest and gave this world immeasurable beauty Earth colored kid, plant yourself and bloom 
You are loved, if by no one else than me


“She grew up believing her main source of survival was the experience of approval” by Chelsea Galos

She so easily shared her war wounds with the undeserved
She trimmed, suppressed, reworked her frame to present the manufactured version that was groomed to be ‘acceptable’
A diminished pamphlet of herself for some cheap acceptance in return
For years she wore a veil for people who would only love and accept her as long as she was disguised
Until she didn’t recognize herself anymore
Unlearning the toxicity of the value system she was raised to so blindly believe in
She starts to remove the disguise, layer by layer
(To see who stays)
Reviving her existence and finding treasure in the shadows she pushed away once before
(To see who stays)
Reminding herself, these are the people I want to create with
(For those who stay)
These are the people I want to expand with limitlessly.


“winter melon” by Anna Archibald // IG: @annaarchibald

at my auntie’s house, 
I pick up a VHS that she can’t recall 
surfaces made of polished wood and step-stools,  
shrines and ashes and 
a graveyard of takeout utensils 
postmaster of her own living room,  
packages piled with nowhere to go 
on my fathers dresser, lined up are nail clippers three in a row 
evidence of my first vandalism, Sanrio sticker on his radio clock 
in this house we say less 
with one single flavor of salad dressing and 
a special communication for feeding the fish 
at home are carbon copies of my lease renewal  
shoved above the refrigerator  
but elsewhere  
a car I could park with my eyes closed, 
the crunch of air-dried bath towels, and 
loading the dishwasher with things that are clean 
I think maybe once we’re best friends i’ll stop writing about my mother, 
her 
bowls of softened winter melon 
post-it note vision board that breaks my heart


“What I Won’t Forget” by mamiamu

Myself. X 
My scars, my bumps, my shortcomings 
All perceived and all very real 
The look they give when I’ve crossed some Arbitrary line 
Some reason to hate me by way of hating themselves Oh you’ll never know 
The pain 
The guilt 
And the burden it is to know what I won’t forget You’ll never be able to disown me any more Than I have myself 
And you will forget me 
But I will never forget myself 
To write.
A form of breathing 
What I won’t want to forget — I’ll forget — and I will forget To say I love you 
To close things 
To flush 
And I wish I could never forget Your embrace 
And eager love 
You are central to the plot, my love Yet I do not have the words No language to test 
To practice 
Loving you 
Or myself 
So I’ll paint you in my mind
And ignore the untruths 
Fill you in the corners of my food My page 
My lyric 
All that goes unsaid 
Cannot be said plainly 
You inspire poetry 
Geeky, flowery poetry 
I’ll never forget 
You 
Our love 
The fullness of it 
I’ll remember to 
Allow you to know me 
Share my dreams 
Adapt to change
And fill you in 
Right here in the corner of my pages 
In the corners of my mind 
I could never forget 

“What I Won’t Forget” is part of a series called “To My Mother: & 9 Other Unpublished Works”.


“Hopeful” by Kristina Robertson // IG:  @kristina_robertson18

In our new normal,
weekdays feel like weekends,
days turn to months,
and the nights never seem to end.
The darkness casts no shadow,
but a light illuminates around the bend.
Eclipsed by an uncertain tomorrow,
hope is all I will ever comprehend.


“Morphic Resonance” By Camryn Chew

Drunk on bicycles
Was the prognosis.
There’s a war but we’re still making movies.
I’m an inside person
I’m inside when I unravel
I’m alive when I’m punctured.
Do you ever look inside yourself
and try to cheat the timeline,
to mold yourself into
My perfect day is a day when
I don’t remember.


“touch” by Alithea Mounika

Our love language is touch
but I am untouchable
the fact that we touched
that we held hands while we watched the firefly
top secret
hidden from family and friends
the fact that we watched the weather and the clouds
on the hill I don’t want to be
touched illegitimately
but I want you to touch me
my hair my neck

I want them to watch us twogether

I don’t want the fact that we ate together.. secret

I want everyone to know that we are together

that when we switch the lights off
We are one
that there is no barrier between your body and mine


“And then I was free–” by Diana Lin

I dreamt I’m walking down a dark street. 

Walking, 

walking, 

then speeding up. 

walk-running, 

running 

RUNNING 

trying to look like I’m walking. 

a voice without a body follows me 

I don’t want him to catch up. 

he thinks he knows me, 

I’m trying to keep my distance, 

trying to get away 

Why does he keep following 

҂ 

I dreamt that I lost my lower right back molar. 

it was hollow and came out in my hand, 

huge 

as big as my palm. 

҂ 

I dreamt of Taiwan 

the place I was born, where my parents, my parents’ parents were born. There are plants everywhere. 

huge draping vines and flowers, 

white and pink hanging down; 

everything vibrant and aglow. 

Bursng forth out of impossibly small pots, 

thimbles of dirt. 

Everywhere I look 

the green. 

҂ 

I dreamt a lion’s mane halo glowing silver around the moon. ҂ 

Three mes this year I dreamt of basements 

dark mysteries opening into discovery 

caverns full of promise, play, 

Secret knowledge, beckoning. 

҂ 

I dreamt that my IUD came out in my sleep 

and I pulled it out of my mouth. 

I could feel the strings on the insides of my cheeks, 

and it hurt. 

҂ 

I dreamt of a young man standing on a rock, throwing stones at the sky. the stones scaer the gray clouds and shoong stars streak the sky, their white powder arcings a mirror of to gray rocks and running clouds 

҂ 

In my dream, you were driving and I was helping you unwrap your sandwich but I was so hungry, 

and before I knew it, 

I’d eaten half of it 

before I remembered that it was for you. 

҂ 

I dreamt that I finally said to you all the things that I’d kept quiet kept quiet so that in our waking days you wouldn’t say, 

What’s the big deal? Why would that bother you? 

In dream life, 

I could do it then 

and I was resolute, undeterred 

despite your making it small 

not maering 

despite your anger, 

And I woke up 

free 

/

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

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