I Am Waiting To Be Built

"Missense” and “Iteration," a poetry debut by high school student Elane Kim

I Am Waiting To Be Built


Once, I followed the snow, watched as it blinked. 
In this language, to ask is to bury. In this language, 

eyes are less than mirrors. What is lost in translation: a bird 
is a beginning that sings; a horse is an untamed tongue. 

Pears are as good as boats are as good as stomachs 
in the bearing of rot. How they can only sink. 

In this language, the names that follow us are castles 
of memory. In this language, I am waiting to be built 

& to be seen. Do you remember what was asked? 
That is to say, do you remember how we were buried? 

How raindrops fell like stones. How they were only stones 
until we felt them. How we were only bodies 

until we fell.


I am told again & again: there was light once, 
        in small motions. This is before my mouth 

was a bullet, rusting. Before my spine was a road to be 
        worn. All the ways to begin unwound. Here, 

floating in a mother’s stomach: the remains of typhoon 
        uncut. The sun is only an open wound if you stare 

too long. The sky is only a vault if you let it 
        hold you. Consider if the world was built 

on a Sunday. If it is still beginning. If we are still 
        beginning. Another telling, & I am reminded 

that the earth has teeth. That bodies are softness & the 
        shadows that follow. There was light once, 

& nothing to drown in it. Again & again, we are only as bright 
        as our stars. How quiet, this irreversible reaction,
these small tragedies. How terrible it is to be 
        the home of so much light.

More Like This

An Indian Muslim Family Is Torn Apart by Religion, Homophobia, and Politics

Nawaaz Ahmed, author of "Radiant Fugitives," on the expectations placed upon immigrant writers

Aug 12 - Roohi Choudhry

My Father’s Faith Will Either Save You or Break You

Chapter One of "Revival Season" by Monica West, recommended by Jami Attenberg

Jun 2 - Monica West

A Mother-Daughter Cult Experience

Chelsea Bieker's "Godshot" is a coming-of-age story about a missing mother and a cult in drought-addled California

Apr 14 - Leni Zumas
Thank You!