She lines her lips with kimchi,
Specks of gochujang twirling and
Mixing into her body’s crimson trains,
Almost at her heart, almost, almost.
She lines her monolids with dark kim.
But when crystal orbs run over her skin,
Kim twists itself into dried seaweed and
Jaeduk morphs into unfamiliar letters—Jenny.
She stands on tiger-shaped mountains,
Ground rumbling beneath her bare feet,
Hungry tsunamis engulfing her family’s ship,
Their old compass from the North to the South.
She speaks in Konglish,
Two clashing ingredients poured into a
Mixture for her grandmother’s dduk.
But the recipe’s gone bad, sour, rotten.
She straddles the line between
At-home and far-from home,
Jungles of palaces and skyscrapers and
Metal bars reaching to lift up her chin.
And somewhere near her crimson trains,
Those kimchi-filled veins bring light to her eyes.
Her heart beats steady—thumping, thumping
In two different tongues, singing its song.
Claire Ahn is from Southern California. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in *82 Review, Blue Marble Review, and The Rising Phoenix Review, among others. Find her on social media @ClaryAhn. 
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