I open the fan inscribed
with my sister’s writing
Many-a-word she has laid bare
I read her words
for me only – to share

“I’ve been in hell
for many a year
but don’t cry for me
don’t shed a tear
I may not have a chariot
to carry me through the fire
but I have my dreams
to cushion me from the flames
I’ve learnt to meet
the inferno with flying feet
I’ve learnt new recipes
even on hell’s precipes
I no longer char my cake
even though inside, I bake
Not long now, before I escape
Wait for me my sister
as I prepare my rise
look always to the heavens
for a phoenix in the skies”

©Vivian Zems

Real Toads-Speaking in the voice of another

NaPoWriMo -Day 6


Feudal times in China began with the Xia dynasty in 2070 B.C. and ended with the Revolution of 1911. In those times, girls and women, whose feet were usually bound, were oppressed, often living circumscribed lives of isolation. 

In the Hunan province, peasant women developed a secret language of female writing, called nu shu. A young girl was matched with a lifelong best friend, or soul sister, called her laotang, with whom she communicated by letter.

Sometimes these messages were inscribed on fans, which were passed back and forth.