Amy Manion’s “The Sky’s Reflection” & em’s “Outside In”

The Sky’s Reflection

by Amy Manion

When will I let myself outside?
My back faces the window; a

computer screen faces me.
Barricaded in a glass cage.

And there she is: with her piercing
eyes. Still through glass she sees me.

Featured in the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention’s (MCSP) forthcoming 2021 Wellness PSA Series, and in Amy’s bilingual short film, “For Our Ancestors,” set to screen in Fall 2021 for the Chinese elder community in Boston’s Chinatown as well as online through Asian Women for Health, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit.

* Writing Prompt: Write in a traditional poetic form (sonnet; sijo), using a pastoral theme (sky; ocean), a part of you (experience; identity), and your desire (trust; ice cream). See what happens.

Outside In

by em

Outside sun highlights leaves and the wires,
and the balcony’s wrought-iron railing.

Inside the elephant ear philodendron turns
toward the light as if eager to leave.

Outside the wind dances the branches of the maples,
a chorus lines across the street.

Inside the air is quiet. Nothing
moves. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Outside shadows beckon,
nooks and crannies of desire.

Inside the page waits.

Outside the day hides
stars and planets, whole galaxies.

Inside my skin holds my heart and lungs,
veins and arteries and nails on their toes.

Outside infinite space where our earth
is just another speck.

Inside my atoms and neurons create
a universe of space.

Outside the blessing of timelessness.
Inside a prayer.

* Writing Prompt: This poem looks at opposites. Try that: outside/inside; big/little; hot/cold; noise/silence… this could go on forever (forever/never). Stop somewhere and write. There are possibilities everywhere. Don’t think about it, just start writing and keep writing and see where you go. And enjoy.

Amy Manion is a Boston-born Asian artist who merges her talents in the arts with her passion for social justice. On the page is where Amy feels the most free and able to share of her self. Poetry is the medium she has found to best capture her truth and the essence of what it is to be human. Amy’s aim is to create a dialogue around seeing and being seen: building human connections and sharing her experience and hope for a more just world. In 2021, Amy discovered a Korean form of poetry called sijo that she has fallen in love with. Her sijo here touches on: the sky, her experience as an Asian in America, and a desire for freedom. For information on how to write your own sijo, click here. For more info on Amy, click here.

em had taken a long hiatus from poetry while living in Newton and working on a translation of Genesis with traditional musical notation. Covid brought her back to poetry. This is her first published poem in a decade, during which time she’s become a Bubbie to 5 grandkids including triplets. Joy! Chaos! Blessings.