Joint Third Place in the Letter Review Prize for Poetry

Poetry by Aoi Onodera

December 15, 2022

It’s so strange.

we are all so fragile

yet instead of bubble-wrapping it thoroughly

we trade bits and pieces of our vulnerability

to form more solid relations

something steady and reliable

something to restabilize our self-esteem

it’s like social welfare

but wouldn’t it be better to protect

than to share and drip

I guess it only works

because we need others to hear our fragility

to feel the thinness of our paper walls

to see the stone weighing us down

in order to validate and accept

and make room for more.

Hello, my name is Aoi Onodera and I am a student currently living in Tokyo. I recently turned nineteen and study political science as a freshman. Though my parents are both Japanese, I have spent half of my life abroad; seven years in Manhattan, and two and a half in Montreal. I thus perpetually miss both everything bagels with tofu scallion cream cheese and the St-Viateur sesame bagels and lox. Literature has always been a sanctuary for me, a place where I can half-exist by residing in the character’s conscience and temporarily forgetting about the real world spinning around me. And the more I did this, I came to realize how eye-opening literature can simultaneously be; it provides you the time and opportunity to reflect on how you perceive the world, other individuals, and your very self. I truly hope that my writing will someday move readers in this way. This has been my dreamlike goal for a long time, so I am more than thrilled to have my poems published. I sincerely thank all who took a moment to interact with my words. Please contact me for business inquiries.

Artwork by Kita Das.