Isabella Wang

  [1] chopsticks    an expression of the heart and determination
                               arrives in pairs[2]

                 []      semantic     heart
                             phonetic     determination

                               radical  𥫗      bamboo

                  the heart hurries      to light incense
                                    prays        for another’s week of rain / year of harvest /gentle flood
                       every morsel       motivated by determination and pleasure in one’s daily work
                         we collected       rain in a pot
                  served each day      fresh on a bed of steamed plain noodles / sesame oil
                       spring onions      diced
                      the chopsticks      were our ancestors’          way of turning over morsel
                         after morsel       of soil      we called           home
                       the invention       of the speed of bamboo scrambles in the hands of the young
                          determined       to serve the elders who fed them first

  [2]              learning to use      chopsticks is a lot like riding the bicycle
                                       both      muscle memory
                               meaning      the origins of the human need
    for  feeding / sustenance
     / salt       and movement       (in select cases)
                                 are one and the same

Note: With thanks to Doyali Islam for inspiring me with her unique innovations with the rupturing of the poetic form in Heft (McLelland & Stewart 2020).

Isabella Wang stands on a rope swing in front of a field of sunflowers. She is smiling and wears a woven hat.

To celebrate the publication of issue 44.1 Growing Room, we’re delighted to share a poem by the 2020 Growing Room Literary & Arts Festival Youth Engagement Coordinator, Isabella Wang. Isabella worked hard to coordinate our youth reading held at Massy Books, one of the only events that was able to occur before the cancellation of the festival due to COVID-19. Isabella’s enthusiasm for supporting and uplifting emerging young writers is inspiring, and she’s also a brilliant writer and poet in her own right. You can read more from our amazing contributors by ordering the issue online, and watch this space as we share more content from contributors to the Growing Room 44.1 issue all throughout the month of March.