by Jessica Kim
I sip the hours like chamomile
tea. This is your medicine & mother
would brew admonitions into the
mixture: remember to wash the dishes,
it’s time you stop wearing the dresses
you’ve outgrown. I only dream of
freedom & girlhood. I hide ribbons in
tree trunks, chiseling prayers for a magic
treehouse; take me somewhere else.
Shape-shift. Tell me I am the moon &
cradle me in those love-soaked palms.
Lopsided constellations dangle from
the night sky where nothing is
permanent. Mother, can you find me
here? In the receding valleys of my
widow’s peak, early sunlight scattered
like strands of white hair. The way my
face contours into riverbeds & I learn
what it means to age, the way a girl
tramples on bruised soil, unnoticed.
Instead, mother teaches me how to
cut the bellies of fruit without remorse,
how to forget her existence & how one day
she will be gone. Be strong, girl.
Tonight, the bloodthirsty crescent feeds
on my cartilage with a mischievous grin
& I am reminded of how the world
is still a stranger, stripping away my
childhood like pork meat, the
bleached bones rattling to the floor.
Jessica Kim is a writer based in California with works appearing or forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Yes Poetry, and more. Her poems have recently been recognized by the National Poetry Quarterly and Pulitzer Center. She loves all things historical and sour.