THURSDAY: ser-i-cul-ture

Poetry Week 2023 Runner-up


Copyright is held by the author.

They discover me young and soft,
supposing that I am not capable of evolving
but I angle
my wrinkled body into the mouth
of cocoon,
a makeshift chandelier.
I stopped eating,
for once.
I lifted my head,
for once.
A silkworm is no worm
I say,
but it might as well be.
Imagine wings white as bones that
my body
will be too heavy for.
Being molded into a domestic anatomy,
they alter its function of flight. A manipulated evolution.
in the home away from here
where the mulberry trees are wild with green.
The. intruders
the room I
sleep in,
steal me
the night.
Still wrapped in the skin of my haven
where I thought I would be safe,
they boil me alive
until the sericin is a
useless phenomena
until the asylum unravels
until the body of me is deconstructed into a single thread
until the skin of me has dyed
until the soul of me is spun & woven.
And now they tell me
I am priceless luxury
the mystery of my artificial softness
left unanswered and preserved for royalty.
Still sought is the silver spooling from my head
more than my head herself.
My luster,
a siren melody
more appreciated for being: corpse.
Mother starved
to give us life,
she carved space into
to make room for our bodies.
Inherent sacrifice is the cycle of life
and inevitable destiny is for the rest of us,
I guess
we don’t blame you for getting lost
in tea Leizu,
touched, unwound,
Tea is a curse for girls like us.
A whisper to become
weapon against the world.
They stole us into a secret,
beseeched the soil
to keep it that way.
a road
a rider walks across the sands of our names
a thousand miles in our remembrance
a tribute my eulogy amongst
a footstep
A silk road
where our creation is sold,
where our faces are nowhere to be
where a gold coin from some man
to understand my ghost.


Image o Olivia Le, head tilted and smiling, wearing a flower-patterned blouse.

Olivia Le is a sophomore in the Creative Writing conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). In the 2023 Poetry Out Loud competition, she placed first for Orange County and third in California. She also won first for Poetry Ourselves on the state level for her original poem and is currently a finalist for California’s first ever Youth Poet Laureate. Being a member of Get Lit Players, she is paid to perform her poetry at various venues in LA. She has received a poetry award from YoungArts and OC Fair Imaginology, has had her scripts produced for a Subaru McKenna commercial as well as a ten-minute play, is literary editor and ambassador of Active Voice, and was paid to film her poem for Women’s History Month by Fox Studios Entertainment. One of her poems will also be featured in this year’s YoungArts Spring Exhibition and her response letter was selected to be posted on the Academy of American Poets website through the 2023 Dear Poet Program. One of her favourite things is sharing her poetry at cafes and open mics in her community along with crocheting, taking care of plants, and traveling.

1 comment
  1. Magical, unspooling the delicate and deadly thread from this creature. Captures our hearts with these short lines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *