finding the reason

By Valerie Fu

(@valuhriefu on Instagram)


why does it hurt so much and 

why does it hurt and 

why does it


drag on for so long before dipping under the horizon line — the same 

searing red as the day before and the day before that, staining the clouds and 

imprinting an electric blue spot on the inside of your eyelids? maybe because 


we tend to romanticize the extremes, so the day hovers for an extra couple of seconds before 

dying and the night pauses for an extra couple of seconds before 

bursting into flame. maybe because 


the middle of the day is stale crackers leaving salty chalk on the 

inside of your cheeks and the top of your hair burning in a wide stovetop circle, 

fever-hot under blistered hands. maybe because


the hurt isn’t just a warning right before the threat of irreparable damage. 

maybe after its utility is exhausted it gives you something to lean into, 

maybe you like it because it always comes after you flip the switch, maybe because


it’s always there for you waiting in the car with a granola bar and a warm hug 

that feels like needles on burning skin. maybe when you dig your nails in 

it comes in predictable waves and maybe you find comfort in the waves and 


maybe you want them to wash over you 

forever and ever 

and ever and


maybe you know, deep down, that 

it only hurts because 

you want it to.




Author's Note:

My inspiration for "finding the reason" was how I eventually came to terms with my personal feelings of pain and loss. I wanted to dig deep into why I seemed to gravitate towards habits or ideas that would cause me increased distress even when I was clearly suffering from doing so. This poem is an examination of why I relied on destructive habits and how I realized that keeping those habits was hurting me even more.

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