"stop telling me to be stronger" by Hikari Leilani Miya


it’s 4am yet my dreams dance

so dust doesn’t settle on them. I don’t shed

a tear when the dancing stops and words begin:

I’m not necessary. I’m fooling myself.

I only cringe a little when I read about red alarm bells

going off in a girl’s head when his hands start moving

down her body. My body isn’t his. My body isn’t

anyone’s. I can meet him or her or them

make steak and love, bake bread and break bonds

and believe it’s not my fault. Fault is fragile.

Like night it shatters at the whisper of light.

I don’t need to wrap myself in weighted blankets

or cheesy tortillas or even clear-broth-clear-conscious soup

when I think of the possibility of love, even one

that loses effervescence after sitting stale in a fridge.

I can grasp a future without pills and high bridges

over hard water. I can cut through apples, leave clean

knives in the drawer without shrinking from their fierceness.

It’s 4am and at the sound of another car alarm,

I waltz into the blush of dawn in C major.


Hikari Leilani Miya is a Japanese Filipina American, 2019 Cornell University English major graduate, and a current poetry MFA candidate at the University of San Francisco who identifies with the LGBTQ community. She is the assistant poetry editor for USFCA’s literary magazine, Invisible City. She currently lives with her two snakes and disabled cat, but has a menagerie of other pets at home in the Central Valley of California. She is a behavioral therapist for children with autism, pianist, percussionist, and music arranger, as well as a competitive card game player.

Instagram: haruka_satsuma_snakes

Twitter: @muffintimetweet

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