immigration etude
— christina im

Sing, o muse, of the girl, beautiful

& lost. Daybroken into a new mythology


of pain. Sing of all the words this country

will sharpen into her waiting mouth.


The girl it destines for the quiver &

its echo—sing streetlights, sorrow, blood


on her dead mother’s tongue. This alien

skyline, its tuneless pulse. The girl’s bloodstream


split into hoping. Sing of that brighter skin. The way

she laughs: not seeking breath or its borrowing


but rather knowing full well the speed

at which iron dissolves. The soft gasp of her neck


wide open & constantly unreadying itself.

Every outstretched hand another fatherland


for her to lose hold of. There is something

to be said for the dreamer &


how long it takes for her to die. Say it.

Speak, o muse, when song tricks her away


from her cover. Speak of all that’s left.

How she prays to a kinder god now


& how his name rhymes with execution. Speak

of the way to a nation’s heart—


through the bodies it leaves behind.


Christina Im is a Korean-American writer and high school student from Portland, Oregon. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in YARNStrange HorizonsThe Blueshift Journal, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In addition, her work has been recognized by Bennington College, Hollins University, Princeton University, the Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose, and the National YoungArts Foundation. Her poem "Meanwhile in America" was selected by Natalie Diaz for inclusion in Best New Poets 2017.