where i come from
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
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
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