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Mother lies

Esther Kim

Potomac, MD

Holton-Arms School


CAS for Database

There is nothing to see,

but as she tends

the town, I find

this is what ignorance

tastes like—

satin and discarded gum.

When she says,

we’re moving, I decide

I’ll hang an elegy

in my new bedroom

for every i-don’t-know

she spells out—

because each syllable

is another piece of this town

chipping away. Farewell

to yogurt cups

and calloused faces, sticky

streets we wander down.

Mother smooths the radio dial

as we drive, the cool

of piano trickling in, numbing

the ride. Her words rub

against the stereo,

one voice under another:

there, there. In the rearview,

as the radio wanes

and we unhear the town,

I watch the streetlights

loosen one-by-one

their footholds in the soil.


This piece was previously featured on School Lunch of Lunch Ticket on 8/19/20.


The author does not hold back in this fast paced and lyrical poem, and transports the reader into the world of "Mother lies" from the very first line.

Esther Kim is a student at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland. Her poetry has been recognized by The Atlantic, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as a National Gold Medalist, and the Poetry Society of the UK. She will graduate in 2021.


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