self-portrait with blue eyes
— claire shang

the first time i realized

this body / this people / this one

was unlike others

i could fit my age

on one hand,

classmate grasping the skin

by his eyes, pulling taut,

forcing squint, i have my dad’s eyes

but not his toughness. wished

to pull myself apart in two,

set one half free,

drown the other.

me, halved in tears,

him, can’t figure out why,

glaring at me with

blue bulging eyes.

later i will insert

these eyes

into a self-portrait

and my teacher

will scowl.

at five, wanting so badly

to take these eyes

off his face,

if not to keep for myself

to look at, to try on

then to keep him

from staring any longer.


Claire Shang is a rising junior at Hunter College High School in New York. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards nationally and the City College of New York, and can be seen in Blue Marble Review and the forthcoming issue of Moledro Magazine. She studied poetry at the 2018 Sewanee Young Writers' Conference. Besides writing, she also runs and plays the piano, but not all at the same time (maybe one day).