Dear Bucket List: By Annie Ma

Dear Bucket List:

I want to find peace.
Run three laps around the globe,
Wear the flags of a thousand cultures,
And drown myself in living.

I want to shake hands with an alien,
Find a five-leaf clover.
Fly above the city superhero-style,
Create the scientifically most
Perfect piece of music.

And I want to find love.
Discover what it means to be
Simultaneously consumed and freed.
Make vows at a glittering altar,
Have so many grandchildren that
I know love in every single city.

I want to vacation to the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
I want to throw my graduation cap to the skies.
I want to celebrate my birthday next month.
I want to visit the new modern art gallery.
I want to finally finish Les Miserables.
I want to eat at Beppe’s tomorrow.
I don’t want to die.

My hands shake; my body shakes.
I don’t want to die.
Eighty years later I will
Envy the fair complexion
Of walnut skin;
The springing agility
Of a lumbering elephant.
Wait for the sun and salute
As it awakes;
Live near the ocean
And listen to its lullaby every night.

The girl in the bathroom mirror
clutches a gun
each heartbeat a gunshot
i don’t want to die—

By Annie Ma


Annie is a high school senior at The Harker School in San Jose, where she is the editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine, HELM. Her poetry and prose have won several Scholastic Writing Awards. She is the founder and president of Book Bank (, a nonprofit organization that serves underprivileged communities by collecting and distributing free books to K-8 school children.

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