Poetry by Jessica Kim


Descriptive image of a pink camellia.

i. you tell me this is the beginning so we drive to some faraway beach in the west coast to watch the sunrise. this is your first time here but you already think of the shape of your grave, mounding the sand on your body to preserve skin. you are still a child in the making & you dig into the earth with your bones as a makeshift shovel. i tell you this is useless & you fling sand into my eyes in retribution. you do not know what you’re searching for but you still find all the lost things grained into your flesh. this is youth & recklessness & dreams. 

ii. this time you are landlocked in your bedroom and you can hear your heartbeat on the wall. witching hour & you are no longer afraid of ghost stories, only the crush that lives three blocks away. he doesn’t even go to your school but you like him. i want to tell you that is weird but you still pluck flowers from his front garden and leave it at his door. his mom screams & the telephone poles carry the noise to your house. on the day of your elementary school graduation it rains but there is no one to lend you an umbrella. 

iii. the camellias that grew on your windowsill wither on your soiled palms. you mistake thunder for a burglar & you arm yourself with quadratic curves. when mother comes home with chinese takeout, you don’t open the front door. you get your driver’s license on your seventeenth birthday and you skip biology to go to the beach alone. still, you do not understand mitosis, parenthood, the way your toes twitch on the shoreline. watch how the sunset clings onto horizon, our youth frittering away as strands of daylight in decay.

Jessica Kim is a writer based in California. Her works appear or are forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Longleaf Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and more. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Lumiere Review. She loves all things historical and sour, and can be found @jessiicable on twitter and instagram.

Photo by TOMOKO UJI on Unsplash

*We used screenshots of this poem to preserve its formatting. For an accessible version, please email

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