After the end of the world, a child is born —
and her name is Hope, her name is Aurora, and her name 
is everything that means the beginning of something new.
A girl like that starts crawling on hands and knees but learns to stand
quicker than anybody before because she has to do it all alone.
A girl like that knows what it means to be strong, because she's had to
stand through a storm, hold onto herself to avoid being washed away.
A girl like that knows how to be brave, how to cast away fear when
she's staring down a snake and boring eyes back, a silent dare.
A girl like that knows how to survive. 
Somehow, the universe plants memories like seeds into her head, 
reminds her of everything that she's ever missed, everyone that 
she would've known; that's where the voices come from.
That's where she learns about things that she will never know, like
laughter among loved ones, and the arms of people holding together,
and the pulsing of someone else's heartbeat. That's also when 
she learns of things like intentional fires, and words that can kill 
without really killing, and all the different ways you can 
break people without really meaning to. That's when she meets
all the people that she could've been, the ones with forced smiles and
voices that quiver with false security and eyes that don't promise
and don't believe in permanence. She meets people that don't really
grow older, just shed their skin and shift into older souls.
She was born at the beginning of the world, born at dawn,
as rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed as the sun.
By the time the moon rose, she was no more older 
than she was that morning, but you could see that 
her eyes no longer sparkled like they used to.

T H E   P E T E R   P A N   A N T I T H E S I S 

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

B Y   S T E P H A N I E   T O M 

Stephanie Tom is a Chinese-American high school student living in New York. She writes and serves as an editor for both her school newspaper and literary magazine. She has previously won Gold and Silver keys from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her writing, and her poetry has either appeared or is forthcoming in Rising Phoenix Review, Germ Magazine, The Blueshift Journal, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among other places.