where i come from

Esther Kim

Bethesda, MD

Holton-Arms School

Poetry

this country  cracked open


months-old yogurt that’s fine, you’re fine


don’t throw away that bottle        weeks later, a flower vase


taekwondo    yes, ‘tae’ as in teddy bear


moonseed catching               our echoes                in the woods


hope             mother cups it like city lights


mouths that cannot be


star-spangled


swimming pools six feet underwater


naked streets beneath the lamplight              the lamp


beside our house, flickering


why did we leave?


reruns of “bill nye the science guy”


textbooks at dawn


creases on thin-skin knuckles that unzip


yun dong ju’s “prologue”      we all sing of some star


mustard and i are not synonyms


flatness         my face                     some words


nineteen and hate and hate


phone calls from one fractured country to another

EDITORIAL PRAISE

Where I Come From nuances the Asian American narrative with something that is often left out: the fleeting moments between the emotional revelations. The true highlight is its unlikely blend of staccato and stream-of-consciousness structures, colouring the poem’s occasions with a muted profundity.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR