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Screen of Smiles

Juliana Hung

Screen of Smiles
a poem by Juliana Hung

All boxed in their separate files,

I face a screen of sixteen smiles

As I zone in and the questions roll in,

Out of habit, my face breaks into a grin

But how honest, how happy was I within

Looking back, these moments felt forced in my skin

Hitting the ten minute break,

I mindlessly grab my phone to take,

The notification, taking my breath away

My eyes gloss over the concerning text

Panicking, what should I do next?

My hands speed straight to the news outbreak

To the headings, screaming of anger and heartache

During this ten minute break,

My mind clings toward the cloudy awake

My body soon registers, then turning fake

No one braced me for this bad day,

No one tapped me, asking if I’m okay

Nowhere to escape, thoughts trapped here to stay

Becoming one with the separate files

I soon resumed to those sixteen smiles

Having no closure, finding no peace,

I turn off my camera for temporary release

Glossy eyes wait for my decision,

But tears well up, clouding my vision

The burden of my fears

Shift my energy to tears

Still in session, I close my laptop

Please. Just make everything stop.

Love, Juliana Hung

"Screen of Smiles" is my reaction to the Atlanta shooting when I was sitting in my online classroom. The "screen" refers to the zoom's grid, but the "screen of smiles" refers to how isolated and secluded I felt when my classmates were externally laughing while I was internally crying. The laptop is a symbol throughout the piece because it guides the progression of my deteriorating emotions. This poem is a frozen yet broken scene, and to all Asian Youth, this submission allows me to be open... to be clean.


Juliana is a 17 year old student with a passion for writing to reimagine a story. Along with being an amateur/aspiring poet, she reads Marie Lu, cooks Food Network recipes, and doodles with 6B graphite in her free time. Musicians that inspire her writing are Taylor Swift, Anson Seabra, and Olivia Rodrigo.

Instagram: @juliana.k.hung

Cover Photo Source: CNN

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