Annie Kim

March 16, 2020 Kim Annie




Clenching, unclenching her thin white fingers,
she tells me where the electric units sit.
Variable pulses, speed, duration—
dismantle what the body knows of trauma:


descending sheets of paper sheared
into ribbons. Harmless ribbons.


When a treatment ‘succeeds,’ the body goes dark.
As if birds had suddenly flown off a rooftop, birds
you hadn’t noticed, wings threshing the air—


silence then, as if they’d never roosted there.


When I think about my father now, I feel nothing.


No, I’m like a rock with too many notches,
lichen growing silky as a coat across me, I’m the branch
that snapped last night during the wind storm.


Curved today across the trunk of my car—
whole, as if a hand had gently laid it there.

Annie Kim is a poet, ex-lawyer, and violinist. Her books are Eros, Unbroken (2020), winner of the 2019 Washington Prize, and Into the Cyclorama, winner of the Michael Waters Poetry Prize (2016). Kim’s poems have appeared in journals such as Beloit Poetry JournalThe Cincinnati Review, Four Way Review, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, and Pleiades. Kim works at the University of Virginia School of Law as the Assistant Dean for Public Service. She teaches poetry and legal writing, and writes micro book reviews for DMQ Review.