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
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,
although I didn’t know
what a good daughter looked like,
only the shadow it left behind. Outside,
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.