Blue Eyes

In “Blue Eyes”, Hannah Han creates beautiful settings and characters through her detailed imagery.

In an old Chinatown classroom

she uncaps dried markers

and folds scratch paper.

I lean forward to see her name,

pinned, crooked, to her shoulder.

Yihua.

That’s a beautiful name, I tell her.

She shakes her head.

You should

call me Charlotte.

 

Six years ago I drew only thin girls

in floral dresses. They

always frowned with

purple lips and porcelain eyes.

Each had a name,

sprouting across the

page in inked plumes:

Anastasia, Evangeline, Coletta.

 

She drops a chewed pencil into my hand.

Can you draw me?

With graphite, I sculpt her eyes,

round as lychee seeds.

Do you want me to color them?

She nods, hand hovering over

a torn box of washable markers.

She picks up a blue pen.

Blue? I say. Are you sure?

She pries open my fist,

an oyster of flesh, and lays the

marker inside, a still-warm pearl.

 

In the bathroom, I hung my drawings,

pencil smearing with soap.

Each morning as I brushed

my teeth with sweet toothpaste

and bent to spit out foam,

I flinched at my reflection.

 

She watches as I uncap the marker,

the plastic click echoing.

I fill each bullet-sized hole

blue.

 

I was lucky.

During my elementary years,

I was surrounded by freckled

dolls packaged in silk bows.

But for ten years, I forgot

the color of my own hair and eyes.

I held only icy marbles in my palms and

and four-syllable names with rolled r’s

that I could not pronounce.

 

She smiles, takes the drawing,

scrawls Charlotte at the bottom,

tucks it into her bag.

 

Bye, I say. When she turns, I drop the

brown marker into her backpack.

 

Keep drawing, Yihua.

 

Visual Art by Heidi Songqian Li.