APRIL POETRY: "Bildungsroman with Open Windows" by Audrey Kim

Curated as part of the Youth Poetry Folio for National Poetry Month
April 5, 2019

This April, to recognize and honor National Poetry Month, we curated a folio of poems by 10 Asian American high school students. This page features Audrey Kim's "Bildungsroman with Open Windows." We invite you to take a moment to read the other nine poems in this collection here.

— Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Poetry Editor

Bildungsroman with Open Windows

Because there were many poems
                                 that led to this poem.
                       Because I owed it—
              to a smaller
                       and weaker version
of myself.                                 
                                  So I took a girl
                                             into a bed too small
                   for the both of us,
                                                learning the language
           of backbone and thumb. Small bonfires
                        lit in our chests.         After, everything seemed louder
                                                 than it used to be—
                                                                the empty house,    my mother’s voice.
A good daughter,   
                   she shouted,
                                       although I didn’t know
                                                          what a good daughter looked like,
                   only the shadow it left behind. Outside,
                                                     light disappeared
                                                                   into the inseam of the horizon,
                                                                                 where it couldn’t possibly return.
                                                      So many times, I thought there was
                                         a script I could follow, faithfully,
                                                                                     like the sea.
                                                                                                             I was wrong.



About this Poem:
As a teenager of color, I often struggle with what being a traditionally “good” daughter of immigrants signifies against my own identity as a queer person. Frequently, I turn to poetry for the answer. I don’t know if poetry is meant to answer these questions, or if there are answers in the first place, but I think it helps in trying to accept them.


This piece was published as part of the April Youth Poetry Folio. To see other works from the folio, please visit the table of contents here.


Audrey Kim

Audrey Kim’s work has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and Kenyon Review’s Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Poets. She will graduate high school in 2020.