(body) language

being bilingual comes with realizing you cannot fully speak either language
because you know enough of each to realize the extent of which you do not know 

and cannot ever know
on account of being bilingual

they are farces, these words
they leave your body
cannot fully justify itself

shifting currents, identities
floating, forming, breaking
between the weight of two worlds

solace in the coolness of the ground

perhaps when I was little
I felt broken
by the brokenness of family
histories from before my birth were

unwitting vortexes and chasms
incomplete, half-formed
encompassing nothing and yet everything
stretching myself 
between these orbiting, revolving, eclipsing objects

then I remembered
our stories hidden in layers of earth
I fell back down
and flailed around as 
I failed to find my roots

but the stories, they rise of their own anger
and diffuse into my veins
unknowingly, they are already a part of me
for dust is constantly expanding

I know now that family is many different things 
that the pain
and suffering
and conflict
running through my history
are no greater than the love 
flowing as a river does in springtime 
all the way down to me

Cover credit: Jonny Kennaugh/Unsplash


  • Chae Yeon Kim is a queer, transnational Korean American writer, researcher, and peacebuilder. She is interested in all things intersectional and intergenerational, writing to break down borders.

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