June 2021

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: blue WATER AND SKY BACKGROUND. Light blue SPOTLIGHT starts at the top left and projects INTO THE CENTER OF THE IMAGE. TEXT that overlays the spotlight READS, “SBA’s STUDENT Spotlight presents: melting waters by Georgia Lin. June 2021.” Top right has a dark turquoise squiggle with white text that reads, “Make your submission by June 14, 2021 for the chance to be featured in July.”

In the first edition of SBA’s Student Spotlight, we are featuring a poem by a U of T student, Georgia Lin, titled melting waters.

Georgia identifies as a first-generation, Taiwanese immigrant woman of colour. She hasn’t been able to return to Taiwan for four years. Her feelings of homesickness and desire to return to Taiwan led her to write melting waters. This poem is about depression, anxiety, panic disorders and Georgia’s own relationship to her mental illnesses. Life in Taiwan and travelling in the Pacific are happy memories for Georgia where she is not, “drowning in seas of ableism and whiteness perpetuated by the North American medical industrial complex.”

melting waters is especially relevant in the wake of COVID-19, where many of us have to find new and different joys than what we were used to prior to the pandemic. Moreover, COVID-19 has spotlighted the inequity and inaccessibility of mental health support in our society that is especially consequential for marginalized groups. Georgia captures these feelings of isolation and loneliness in her poem along with her “feelings about living as an Asian woman of colour in a white supremacist society where Asian communities, in particular, do not openly discuss mental health.” 

To Georgia, poetry is an expressive outlet that is useful for managing depression. She hopes that her poem will prompt readers, “to dream about their happy place and brighter times, knowing that time (and oceans) are powerful sources of healing.”

melting waters
by Georgia Lin

sleep has long been a tenuous activity
unto which i can only sometimes force
my fickle body to participate
my brain flits and flocks
out of disassociated crowns
lost ideas, ideals
deciding to rise before the sun
behind the moon
and out of clarity’s sight.

she wants to melt
into the Pacific, far away from
here is the place where clarity
where sanity is a welcome repose
for the real mind,
its waves and tenors
belongs on islands not found
in these waters, no.
they are scattered into soulful fragments
fragmented and in despair.

for here, we are stuck
limbs asunder in uncertainty
wanting more than her present can give
in the todays and tomorrows
she misses the oceans,
salted hair,
clear skies of joys
found elsewhere.

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