Home 9 Issue 9 Three Lamps by Jane Han

Jane Han, age 17


I wrote this piece specifically for the WriteGirl Lines & Breaks publication. Looking over the submission information and guidelines, I wondered how I could possibly portray myself. After reading the WriteGirl encouragement to “evoke all the senses,” my eyes fell on the three lamps I have in my room. These lamps have been a constant in my life. They’ve seen me through my highlights and my lowlights, and I thought what better way to portray the three memories that make me me than the lamps that have been through all of these memories with me.

Three Lamps

I have three lamps in my room:
Golden Brown
Hospital White
Tail End of the Sunset

Golden Brown: cluttered with wire rings I make, stickers from my sister, a stone turtle collected from a road trip

silver glances between branches entwined
I sink into my camping chair
royal blue
a minuscule tear on one armrest
sliver of dust coating the metal legs

So utterly mine.

eyes meet with my parents
wrinkles of love
guarded and flat,
but in this moment
vulnerable, open

eyes meet with my sister
twinkling with amusement,
flickering around
but in this moment
focused, caring

The immigrant family experience:
parents shielding
worries never discussed
weakness never shown.
My sister grew up wandering
jumping from one thing to the next
eyes never met
I grew up watching
cracks and mends
quick glances

Camping is the one time we sit around the everlasting flames
covered in the scent of musty soot
vulnerable, a little scared, but connected

Hospital White: bare

there’s a strip between the end of Beverly Hills and the beginning of Koreatown
my middle school bus stop
I was out one day

A Whistle
eyes met
slimy, rotten, rusted metal smelling of pride trampled over and over and over
clinically rotten teeth curled into a resemblance of a smile

I wanted to cry
stomach rose to my throat, lines carved into the skin of my palms, thighs aching from speed walking

I wonder
how many children’s stomachs rise, lines carve, speed-walk away

It should be none.

Tail End of a Sunset: perched on my bookshelf, shaped as a palm tree

“Power On”
ears encased in memory foam
mini speakers on each side

legs itching to move
arms swinging lightly

the first note rings out
jumping up I grab my water bottle


spinning to face my wall
shimmy here, dazzling smile there
stuffed animals my enraptured audience
I sing my heart out into my water-bottle microphone

hair whipping
smile beaming
eyes twinkling

the tangy wild-grown strawberry taste of freedom rushes through me

b flat
the final note

fingers outstretched, blood pumping, neck tipped back ever so slightly
I am the sole maker of my performance