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 YARN, Strange Horizons, The 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.