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A Sestina For Us

Lian Wang

Mercersburg, PA (via Hong Kong/Beijing)

Mercersburg Academy


CAS for Database

Whispers and baby steps we

Cradle our hearts of glass

Pivot on silken line

We tumble parcels drop

Lunge to slash at the roots

Surged out we pick

Up the broken shards and pick

At the warded vaults we

Tape our roots

Onto brittled glass

Stitch the pieces every drop

Our blood and sweat on the line

Write between the lines

They said to pick

Our words paint the backdrop

Grey and our skin sickly like we

Are expected to clink our glasses

Smile and root

For them to save us plant our roots

In neat lines

Seal the glass

Bulletproof and pick

Out the battle scars we

Proudly wear when we drop

Down our youths survive the drop

And claw up our roots

Rise from the dirt we

Don’t wait in line

To pick

Our fights watch behind glass

So clean your glasses

Your voices drop

To the scratch of paper and toothpick

Trace your roots

Down your heart’s line

Cause tonight it’s us, yes we


Here, the sestina, typically an older, classic form, is an anthem for youth. I want to shout it from a rooftop to a crowd of young below. Its swinging and quick rhythm matches the urgency of those coming of age. This is a poem for us, the title declares. It’s right. This poem is ours, and we are glad to have it.

Lian Wang is from Hong Kong and Beijing, China. She attends Mercersburg Academy, a boarding school in Pennsylvania, where she will graduate in 2021. She enjoys reading and dancing, and she is the literary Editor-in-Chief for her school’s arts and literary publication.


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