on the idea of roughness

by Eunice Kim

the chalice of my collarbones—
an abridged list of things we tried to call idolatry: hollowed
dawn / desire strung taut, pulled quiet. the fragility
of it all. confessional spilled into the afterimage
of a hand. holy &
holy & found wanting. [ left behind:
an apple core seeded through with the act
of forgetting. an apple core,
backlit. ]

i snakeskin. i sprawl.
holy / profane.
sky, great & again.

the first becoming is
shaped like a garden scrawled
through with
plants [ left behind: the blueing of / the light. an eye for an eye
is how the story ends. ] the
drowning, the glassmade ocean & let there be light. my hands as
a prayer. my hands as a flooding / as
judge jury executioner. who lives to see the olive-branch ground—

rigor mortis sets in
eight hours after the body is found, the water’s
single concession in my mother tongue.
we carry makeshift rivers
brackish with death. salt-limned is the
color of a city forgotten.

[ left behind: the language that sharp-birthed me /
the one where apple means
to apologize. ]

still; i slaughterhouse. i safekeep.
holy / profane. word of mouth & other
associated burials.

[ left behind: the starting point. ]
i think we picked up the
light / with our hands. we didn’t get it right the
first time around.

Eunice Kim is a Korean-American writer living in Seoul. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Polyphony, ANMLY, The Rising Phoenix Review, and more. She currently works as a staff reader for The Adroit Journal and a volunteer writer for Her Culture.


Photography by: Christopher Campbell