in response to the symptom of apathy
and still the world goes on.
the ossified tectonic plates, the grand
mute motions of their grief.
i go through every variable of
this universe and its machinery. the
unwilling gears, the
agonies of invariance. on the
spectrum of visible light,
the individual is endlessly iterated.
this version of myself blisters
quiet and stolen. and i
could not keep the war from coming
home and i could not sanctify a
city holy enough to stop the killing.
and i could not
remind their time-moored bodies
of the way roadkill putrefies when
nobody is left to make an altar of it.
in the space between those
things that did not happen, i sing,
tracheal and impermanent.
i break each of my
mouths against the landlock gyre of the
system: an elegy to the outline
of my lungs. an elegy for the
imperfect shapes they keep,
the oxygen riddling my veins
as proof of concept there is someone
left alive. and i will
aperture myself in this unyielding
world for as long as it takes.
i will take gentler hands and quantify
the things we sing for in the night.
the body’s grief is apocryphal
the sleeping animal of the city lets me go, anesthesia-cruel.
my tongue calcifies twice over, meat
to cellophaned bone, loss at the most cellular level. i collectivize
myself like it will chase the wanting. and
still i pray for rain to sing me to sleep. for homeland
to unstick the bullets damasked in my throat,
to tell me this landfill
history has not been for nothing. the
family portrait waterboards me nightly. our
confession room is brackish with
stories and i am rendered judge-jury-
executioner, carrying the weight of a tenderized and makeshift
with her head. off with her
tongue. i fishhook a confession from myself in the bitterest
language. i have never been
looking for absolution until now, but there is
another world riding slipstream to this one where the
skin on my teeth is only from the blacktop and i have not yet
learned how to turn, maddened,
on the city that no longer wants me.
Eunice Kim is a Korean-American writer living in Seoul. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in ANMLY, Sonora Review, Pidgeonholes, Young Poets Network and more. She currently works as a staff reader for The Adroit Journal and a volunteer writer for Her Culture.
Previous: Victoria Nordlund • Issue 12 • Next: Ayesha Asad