There is a big holiday gift bag,
At the foot of my bed,
Filled with fifty plastic bags.
My logic urges me
To throw them out,
For they take up space and are purposeless.
But my emotion prevents me
From doing so,
For reasons I do not know.

There is an old lead pencil,
With worn tips and faded color,
In my old pencil case,
With thirty other unusable pencils.
I once loved this lead pencil.
Now I don’t use it
Or even look at it anymore.
Still I keep it in my room,
Where no one can say no.

There is a bright red jacket,
Ten years old,
Sitting in the corner of my closet,
Neatly folded and packed away.
It had once kept me warm
But now is way too small
Though it remains as
A piece of my childhood memory,
That I refuse to let go.

But the one thing I hold dearest
Is something I cannot own.
For human hearts
I can neither read nor keep at my own will.
One that has been so close to me
Has found someone new.
I managed to keep so many trivial possessions
But what matters the most
Is beyond my control.

Manlun Ding’s personal essay “The Wonton Soup” won second prize in the Fifth Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. She is a digital and traditional artist who has deep sentimental feelings for the village in China where she spent her childhood. Manlun is currently a sophomore majoring in Computer Arts at SVA.