To my dad who left us, my mom’s hands
were honeycombed with awkward pleats,
But to me, her hands
cure the knot in my stomach,
soak the tears I can’t hold back,
and prepare my favorite açaí smoothie bowl.
To my dad who left us, my mom’s words
left bruises and punctured deep wounds,
But to me, her words
convince me to see the sun the next day,
reveal the parts of me I try to conceal,
and exile the thoughts that make me feel worthless.
To my dad who left us, my mom’s scars
were signs of unattractiveness and clumsiness,
But to me, her scars
are evidence that her abuser left behind,
amplify the silenced contours of her identity,
and mark not defeat, but victory over those who
kept her from getting a lick of freedom.
To my dad who left us, my mom’s wrinkles
marked the expiration date of her commodification,
But to me, her wrinkles
accentuate the warmth of her eyes that bring solace,
decorate the external layer of her internal jewel,
and are the permanent receipts that testify on her behalf.
Erin Kim is a Korean-American living in Los Angeles, California. She is a rising senior at Middlebury College majoring in International and Global Studies (with concentrations in Global Security Studies and Mandarin Chinese) and minoring in Religion. She began journaling and writing short stories from a very young age because it was a coping mechanism that helped her process her parents’ divorce. However, she stepped into the world of slam poetry during her sophomore year of high school through her creative writing class. Since then, Erin has performed one of her pieces, “No, and No Thank You,” at the Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) program and continues to write pieces during her free time. When she’s not writing, Erin loves cooking Korean food, making frequent trips to Trader Joe’s and Costco, and stargazing with friends.