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hypnopompic confessions

CAS for Database

Sisi Li

Bangkok, Thailand

International School of Bangkok


hypnopompic confessions

I. at our best, we were pretenders. doe-eyed, flush skin, we bled       and breathed make-believe. heroes, villains, librarians, fashion designers, sisters, sisters. yearnings disguised as costumes. second home, first friend. we took girlhood by the arm, laughing as we tugged. precious things are never made to last. even now, I think I could make the world evanesce if you wanted me to. the rivers I would cross for you.

II. my oldest memory is a nightmare. amaranthine skies, bushes like barbed wire. scuffed knees hidden beneath bleeding thorns. luminous eyes, golden and narrowing, wolves emerging from the woods. trapped. a self-portrait cut from glass. only the fear is long absent: in its place, something shapeless. not unlike grief.

III. I tried horse-riding when I was younger. most of it is a blur. a ten minute drive away on a dirt road, through patchy trees. one night in particular twists below the surface. the sky had been starless, save for a street light somewhere, hovering. November? the horse beneath me was black and white, no gray. we were riding in circles, the rope was frayed. trotting? I forget how I got there, but I could not stay much longer. heartbeat? up, down, up in the saddle. it might have been faster. slower. maybe there was no rhythm at all. loop after loop after loop. perfect? maybe it was just cold.


Hypnopompia” is defined as a state of consciousness before waking up from sleep; an apt title for a piece so honest and imagerial. You’ll feel the stream of consciousness in each vignette ferry you from one memory, one heartbeat to the next in constant waves. Each moment, each “confession” leaves the impression of listening to many voices simultaneously: to a stranger, to an old friend, and, most poignantly, to yourself.


Sisi Li (she/her) is currently an honors undergraduate student at USC majoring in Narrative Studies with a minor in Comparative Literature. Before she came to Los Angeles, she lived in Bangkok and Beijing. Besides writing and reading, she also loves dancing, creating oddly specific music playlists, and consuming anything matcha-flavored. More of her written work can be found in Aster Lit and Paper Crane Journal.

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