“preservation” by Jessica Kim

I’ve been taught to treat my body 
as an exhibition, skin sculpted
into an altar as eyes become
nothing more than sockets for 
hands to poke at. Look at the
congregation of visitors around 
me, their shadows straying 
to the sides, flirting with 
the ghosts in the glass coffin 
next door. Here, I cannot tell 
you how my mother soaked 
my swollen limbs in ginger 
to preserve the softness, 
whispering this is how it’s 
supposed to be. It is not enough 
to dream of reincarnation
as a nightingale in the forgotten 
stories, asking for repentance 
in this foreign land where 
they only repeat my heritage
as if to mock.

Jessica Kim (she/her) is a young Asian writer whose work appears or is forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Perhappened Magazine, Clover & White Magazine, Minute Magazine, Rising Phoenix Review, and elsewhere. She enjoys watching historical movies and eating lemons.

Image: Film still from “Outline 1” by Alan Coon

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