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I Ask Mother if She Is Listening

By Jessica Kim

and there is no answer. Telephone zapping into muteness. 

This is where folklore turns into reality; there was once 


a queen mother who stabbed her son. He lived, but only 

in exile. Mother, do you not feel pity for this prince? 


How there was no hand to caress his cheeks, the scar 

from the blade as the only remnant of family. Tonight, 


he will dream of rebellion dressed in a silk nightgown 

and I will dream of home. The way I can still unlatch 


the front gate in twilight and the prince tries to unlearn 

all the secret passages into the palace, instead framed as


a trespasser. Only then will he see his mother scurrying 

out to him. The queen dies before she can make out her 


son on the throne and he sobs into her clammy palms, 

static with exorcism. This, a bad omen. Mother, I am 


a work of divination and I will tell you the prophecy

ends here. Waiting for an answer, lifeline in standstill.

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