January II Issue: Poetry Roundup

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

Poems by Deena Umeda


I can never be her. So secure in myself 

I can tan my skin to a beautiful bronze. 

I can hide from the sun forever but 

I will never be white like





       last night. So

      I spit on the dry

  pavement because 

    I thought she felt

            left out.

(I cannot tell her that I am happy the way I am)

Poems by Tanvi Nagar

The Dragon
1. She was five when her father gifted her a locket
Inside of this lies a dragon
“Call him when you need him.”
He will protect you from the evils of the world
He will fend off those who weaken your spirit
Oh! How she kept that locket safe
Preserving it.

The Locket
2. She was seven when she wore another thread-
A necklace sort of thing
This time it was round her neck
The precious stones will protect you
Never remove this necklace
Oh! How she kept that locket close
Preserving it.

The Hues
3. She was fifteen when she was told
Wear these colours-
White, pink and maybe yellow-
They are your lucky ones
They won’t let any harm come to you
Oh! Then on, she was clad in only some shades

The Warrior-Her
4. She was seventeen when she needed this luck-
In a dark alley way, when all the evil came to her
She remembered the dragon,
She remembered the clothes
She had the locket so close
Yet, she couldn’t feel the super powers. No.
But she felt the dragons inside her rising
She felt the universe and stars aligning
No, this wasn’t the magic of the stones or rings
It was her power
The power of the warrior rising.


I sat in a dimly lit room and began to flip the dusty journal’s pages,
‘My life’- the first page said- ‘Every detail in this journal I have narrated’
My grandmother’s words, her handwriting preserved perfectly through time,
“This journal begins on 18th September 1800, it will end with the end of my life,
They call me a warrior, they call me a fighter-mother, lover, daughter too,
I have been all of them, not a single day of my life has been rued,
When I came into this world they labelled me as a housewife-nothing more,
A slave-born to live and die inside four walls- “What more is a girl even worthy for?”
“You must die with your husband, he’ll live with you for seven lives,” mother said,
(He’s twenty-seven years elder to me-he’s on his death bed)
(How can I die before I have begun to achieve my dreams-Yes! I have dreams too,
How can I jump into a fire for him-I will not, mother dear, I will not do this for you).

They told me to marry him like my mother did when I was barely nine,
To sacrifice my body, my mind- devote myself to their service-for my lifetime,
I was loaded with a cart full of riches, my value calculated in bills and money,
Father- “He will treat you well, dear- we have given him whatever he wanted as dowry”
While he read the Gita, he commanded- “Lady, go get me some hot tea.”
I took the book from the table, while he slept-the letters like designs looking quirky,
That’s how I learnt to read the Holy books, pen down biographies and write,
That’s how I went on to lead India’s freedom struggle-studying under the night light.”

A tear flowed down my cheek, I snapped back into my reality,
To a world where there are thousands of women-no longer oppressed with brutality,
A world where there has been progress, there have been massive leaps and bounds,
Today women are astronauts-reaching the stars and clouds, rising above the ground.
Today girls attend school, girls know of their rights, girls are have travelled miles,
Today girls know that they needn’t be clad in red sarees- they are beautiful when they smile.
Today girls can go to temples, churches, mosques- follow their heart’s calls,
Girls are overcoming barriers, crossing obstacles and breaking suffocating walls.
In my diary, I began to write- ‘My life’-each and every detail I described,
“I was born in 2000-welcomed as not a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’-but simply a child,
I went to school with my brother, went to college too,
They said-be a doctor, an astronaut, lawyer- do whatever you want to pursue.

The era has changed, the world is slowly turning into a paradise,
Female foeticide has reduced, people have begun to value the girl child’s life,
Women can step out of their house safely after the so-called ‘curfew’,
They can all blossom like flowers whose petals are coated with fresh dew,
That’s how the era has metamorphosed-like a caterpillar and butterfly,
To the next generation reading this diary-
Make the world a finer place, never lose the spirit to try and try.”

“The Oasis”

She pictured the forests-
She heard the moonlit darkness call
Inside the darkness, she felt
She would have solitude and calm.
So she walked into the jungle
A little light was all she had
The trees loomed
The animals cried out
The winds blew strong.

It was then that she began to realise
That she had understood it all wrong
The darkness was an oasis of its kind
It couldn’t bring more light
All it would do to her was misguide.
So she turned back and made her way
The anxiety loomed
Pain made her cry out
The winds blew strong.

This time she wasn’t running away
A warrior in the making.

Tanvi Nagar is a student of class 11 at Delhi Public School, Gurgaon. She has been writing for the past eight years and is passionate about public speaking, travelling, playing sports and reading. She has contributed to national newspapers like ‘The Times of India’ and ‘Hindustan Times’; magazines like the ‘Neev Magazine’ and ‘Children’s World’ and anthologies like ‘The Last Flower of Spring’ and ‘Riding on a Summer Train’ by Delhi Poetry Slam; ‘The Great Indian Anthology’ by Half Baked Beans and ‘She the Shakti’ by Authors Press. She is the Editor in her school and has authored three books titled, ‘A Treasure Trove of Poetic Wonderland’ ‘A Bountiful of Rhythmic Stories’ and ‘My Book of Short Stories and Poems’ and two research papers which were published in the International Journal of Multidisciplinary Educational Research.

She has won the Eye Level Literary Award 2018 by Daekyo, South Korea; the Create Change Challenge 2020 by the University of Queensland, Australia; the Millennial Essay Writing Contest by UNESCO and Takthe; the Haryana State Badminton Championship 2013-14; and has worked with organisations like The Global Leadership and Education Foundation and The Faridabad Education Council to serve the community.“THE WARRIOR RISING”

Poems by Yuu Ikuda

“I Want To Write Poetry Like …”

A cup of potage in the cold morning

The sunlight pouring into the room
at winter noon

A glass of brandy in front of the heater

Tones of violoncello

Sounds of a typewriter in the silence

Scents of freshly baked bread
and brewed coffee

Scents of fallen leaves
piling up on the ground

Winter wind caressing cheeks

Transient warmth and intoxication

The escape from the reality

The bottom of calm

Waves of relief

Travel to where there is no one

“My Words On My Notebook”

My words are
wandering in my heart,
trembling but hiding the fear
I write a lot of vague shadows
to give them place
where they can become clear shapes

My words are
overflowing in my heart,
wailing but sometimes smiling

They hasten me again and again
Flaring words in the darkness
kindle me again and again
They whirl on my notebook
and become complex
So, I can’t find the perfect answer
But I must continue to write
because they hasten me
and kindle me
every time I write

They give me colors of sadness,
tones of loneliness,
and despair to happiness
I give them place
where they become clear shapes and
they can breathe freely


To shattered life,
to life that time stopped,
to life crouching on the bed,
to life that became small,
POETRY adds colors, pains,
happiness, and heat

It is like a diary
It equals living
It is the communication
with this world
It is my breath

POETRY is like that
the moonlight waxes in my heart,
the sunlight soaks into my skin,
glowing light, and
silent and frozen light
pouring into me

Yuu Ikeda is a Japan based poet. She writes poetry on her website. Her published poems are “Sinful Silhouette” in <Rigorous>, “Broken Pieces of the Truth” in <Briefly Zine>, “A Flickering Light” in <Kalonopia>, and more.

Poems by Citra Benazir

“The Thing That Makes The Wind”

I can’t believe it
Is it really sunlight I’m feeling
Kissing my skin
Pressing my pores
Oh it’s been too long
Bare it all under the sun
As the pearly beads of sweat run down
Between my breasts
Between my thighs
Gentle gift of immense pleasure
Gripped below
Shaped like something familiar
Short breaths and sighed relief
From a hard and elongated handle
A rush of breeze
Amidst the humidity
A sensual mist

“Expendable Life”

I like being isolated.
With nobody but myself.
With nobody but love.
With nobody but my present being.
I used to loathe being alone.
Because that’s all I’ve known.
I used to loathe how I spoke to myself.
How my mind spoke to me.
I never realized that was freedom.
I never realized that was freedom.
I want to be free.
I want to be free.
Free like I’ve got nothing to lose.
Free like at any moment I can leave.
Free like at any moment I can disappear.
Free like there’s no tomorrow.
Maybe there isn’t.
Who knows, am I right?
Maybe I can just vanish.
Who knows, maybe that’s just what I prefer.

“I Just Want You”

Let me give you a moment
to define the feeling
of longing for someone
Do you call it lust? or desire?
Do you just call it passion?
Or do you simply miss them?
At times it reaches further
Missing is too narrow a word
Too shallow of what can only
Be pronounced as
Right here and now
Though never could I admit to such a thing
And never could you admit to such a thing
For yet another day
We shall remain nameless
We shall remain occupied
We shall remain indefinite
Until our silence gives itself up

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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