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On Reaching for the Stars

/ Jennifer Khuu

Poetry — 1 min reading time


On Reaching for the Stars

- from the lifetime of a toy

You’ve forgotten now

of the days you took me to the moon,

your feet teetering back and forth

in proud possession of the galaxies.

Giddy upon gifts galore,

as Naïveté pampers you with a limitless domain,

you claim Invincibility as boldly as

the resolution booming

in your teeny bones.

So onwards we conquer all the planets,

pitter-pattering across the stars

that burn on nothing more

than grand ambitions running

     fantasy bound.


In a distant haze,

are the somber nights

you clutched me tight,

consumed by fever dreams,

cruel night terrors,

     the birth of Doubt.

Your heartbeat thumps against my ear,

heaving with that helpless dread.

     Invincibility taking its slumber

as your tears find the fine strands of my hair,

     the stars are burning a little less brightly tonight.


Before we know it,

Your meticulous mornings spent

brushing the knots out from my hair,

     become hasty drags that tug

     a little too hard.

The careful smoothing of my smock,

     a tiresome nuisance.

I watch myself become a burden,

until even burden proves too generous a word,

     as I watch you forget.


By sweet sixteen

those galaxies you claimed so resolutely in your name,

dimming and quiescent, are long abandoned

in exchange for the passing bliss

of cheap intoxication.

You grow fond of Inebriation,

seducing you with its temptations

of escape and momentary solace.

You’ve held Doubt close,

and together you mock far-away tales

     of the moon and the stars,

     of resplendent hopes,

reducing them to infantile daydreams.


You look at me now, with hollow eyes,

     Invincibility bid you farewell long ago,

While Anxiety and Depression makes itself at home

I watch in anguish

     as you surrender your universe

burning out entire constellations,

a grand extinction of innocent ambitions.

You trade our trips to the moon

     for pills and thin white lines

as those limitless dreams succumb to veracity.

With no goodbyes, you leave behind an entire universe,

aching with remnants

     of what could have been.

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