Autotomy

after Sesshu Foster

Hailstones, hailstones on the window like the glass might crack, hailstones like some light might touch you if it does, why don’t you flinch, I’m asking again, and for a second you really see the house collapse, bend down to examine the faces of its dead—you, survived by your silence—maybe rescue is a kind of weather—but the ice knocks too loud on the panes, hemorrhage of noise, hollow in your head, mercy it is so hard, and you are still too inside your body, the body you’ll give me with no explanation, and the trees, evergreen, they bow too low, what in this picture will snap first, and you make believe you can hear them too, straining under the weight of dirty things you sent up to the sky to be loved, I’m sorry there never was time to save them, you shining shout in the too-small dress, you soft-cheeked and nothing to run from, oh sweet satellite, I’m sorry I made you someone who doesn’t cry when she reads the news, someone who understands numbers, I built you and you tired me out, but you never left, did you, your breath my breath, you inevitable, far from the ground, and the world falls on its hands and laughs in ice that could split you open, sky washed gray and full, like you told it something long ago and now it’s just repeating it back.


Christina Im is a Korean American writer and undergraduate student at Princeton University. A 2018 finalist for Best of the Net, she has been recognized for her work by the National YoungArts Foundation, the Adroit Prize for Poetry, Hollins University, Bennington College, and the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Her poem “Meanwhile in America” was selected by Natalie Diaz for inclusion in Best New Poets 2017.

Hailstone Moon illustration by C.B. Auder.

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