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The Art of Regret

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

by Kayla Xu

the art of regret

she sways softly in a cloak of strawberry wind

white dress melting into yellow ochre fields

a spatter of sunbeams dancing across elastic skin.

tesseracting tumbling tripping down ice-cream-painted boardwalks

slam into skateboards skipping stones

fling yourself into the waves

boomerang back

shudder through the burning sand

blurred silhouettes rippling into foam-streaked skies

the sunset settling into a blush over freckled cheeks.

what is the color of pain

maybe it was the cream of the pale hospital sheets cradling her sharp gaunt frame

or the dying golden glow of her dream, shattered the instant the Ford tumbled down the slope and killed her rose-colored laughter.

or the thousand shades of gray drowning in her eyes

unforgivable. I never want to see you again. Ash. Charcoal. Taupe.

your memories chopped into sun-bleached confetti

the pieces left to papercut your heart.

and now

her mouth twitching hesitantly

It’s been a long time.

all of her slams into you at once like a Munch painting

bending against a crying red sky

except you’re the one screaming without a sound.


Kayla Xu is a 17-year old Asian American who is interested in bridging the gaps between culture, creativity, and emotion. With words strapped on her feet, she treads carefully through forests of real-world complications such as heartbreak, domestic abuse, and estrangement. In her free time, she loves to sing, sketch and play badminton. She looks forward to studying computer science in college, and possibly minoring in creative writing or design.