how to hold the balancing knife
mother witnesses two boys kissing and looks away.
mother knows all daughters are born
for the moment of their burning,
so she lights a match on my cigarette teeth.
mother says she lets me walk home alone at midnight
because no boy would ever want to touch me,
laughs when i tell her
i wouldn’t want to be touched by any boy anyway.
mother says, don’t be so sensitive, you know i don’t mean it.
mother watches me hemorrhage my scars into hurting.
mother says she wants me to be honest,
so i tell her about the girl i love and her marlboros
and how our wounds choked bloodlessly
the first time i kissed her.
mother, quiet, bites down on the hive
of her tongue, a thousand wasps breaking
free to nest in my shinbones.
mother says she rather i hadn’t said anything.
By H. Yenna Kim
H. Yenna Kim is 17 and soon to be a college student. They currently live and write in New York.