Young Poet: Angelin Lee

Angelin Lee is a writer from California. She’s always loved writing and uses her works to express the thoughts she cannot say out loud.


i. Foundation

Layers, cracking:

You will get good grades

get into a prestigious university


get a masters, maybe a PhD

You must become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer

or what am I going to tell Jason-who-went-to-Harvard’s mom?

that my daughter chose to be a nurse instead?

Your foundation lies in that you work hard

so your parents’ immigration to the States

won’t have been wasted

on a daughter

(even if it was their choice)

ii. Concealer

Violet lethargy blooms under tired eyes

All nighters in exchange for a 4.0 GPA

Three hours of sleep so you pop adderall

(is it worth it? Yes.)

What’s the use of taking Biology if you can’t fix your body?

To conceal. At least when you’re studying you can’t think too hard

about the bumps blemishing your forehead , breakouts

from Monster energy drinks and black coffee

One meal a day

If you don’t get into college you’re worth nothing, you know?

I know.

Tears—heaven’s rain—dampen your cheeks

So you cover them up with concealer two shades lighter

than your skin

will seem healthy, glow—

You study.

iii. Eyeliner

Eyeliner changes everything, you’ve heard

If eyes are windows to the soul then maybe you should at least make yours pretty.

Your eyes tell the truth, scream!

With eyeliner maybe you’ll no longer have

your mother’s almond-shaped eyes

if you line them dark enough

maybe you’ll be able to make friends

that aren’t from China and don’t assume you speak broken English

even though you’ve won writing awards

And kids at school won’t pull their eyes into slits and stick their tongues out,


iv. Blush

Pale pink chrysanthemum petals

Champagne infused cheeks

Felicity layered on enough it won’t seem like you’re yellow everywhere;

that you do have colour, aurora

—that you are Pretty.

Butterfly wings flutter in spring

bubbly with laughter

and the picture is idyllically beautiful

(or is it?)

v. Lipstick

Vermillion shades illusion

mixed with sanguine opulence

Persephone’s pomegranate seeds stain, red

Bold, Alluring. demure

Speak up. Speak louder. We can’t hear you.


Lips too thin, small, cupid’s bow? No.

Overline them. And fill in the gaps

with scarlet crayon.

So you will be able to better communicate—

Stand straight.

vi. Smile

The last and most important step of makeup

is to wear a smile

Not too big so that too much of your teeth show too much

Just a little…perfect! Be (un)natural.

Confidence, they say, is key

Wear one for others if nothing else

But your smile is a mask

and no matter how hard you try

Masks shatter too

You are lost without one


What are you doing?

Don’t let the tears fall or it’ll ruin your hard work!


Keep your mask on even as the layers threaten to crack.