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do you remember -- poetry by Jeannie Kim

lying together in the dark, soft bellies full of ignorant joy

and your mother’s seaweed soup, the noodles we stole

from cabinets crawled on knees we thought we were so

daring didn’t we. you had posters lining your walls back then

like lullabies before sleep, but you took them down didn’t you?

the year you started wearing dresses and i started wearing

paper cuts.

our favorite song from the winter we turned twelve,

melody like laughing through blankets and rhythm like tiptoeing

out to the roof. you would sing it in the shower and i would stick myself

in it on the floor outside the bathroom, wax dripping candlelight

rooted in the hollows of my feet, as if that would make us stay.

i was so angry that winter, rage fizzling into split ends cracked screens,

and you would tattoo ghosts into my skin until i stopped crying.

the convenience store tucked between your home and mine

the one without the air conditioning that sold coffee squares

you bought every week, sunday nights for crumpled bills and

your sweatpants hemmed to fit my legs. broken sliding glass doors

like suns setting in my stomach, your lips a cracked nude

in mosquito lights. we would let plastic bags drip between our hips,

reach the playground at the end of the sidewalk, ask tonight?


Jeannie Kim is a high school senior from Chicago with a love for poetry, reading, and music. She is a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards gold medalist and has been a part of Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and Kenyon Review Young Writers. She is also an executive editor at Polyphony Lit and enjoys discovering new writing.

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