Given Name by Christina Im

Painting by Seon-Jeong Kim

Given Name

Say it like this:
tongue brushing ceiling,
sighs on the wind, a country
called we will not break.
Say it like this:
opening floodgates,
quavery vowel (as in young,
as in clumsy), ending as gentle
as moonset. Ending
as coup de grâce.
Say it like this: foreign daughter
who can’t reach across the sea,
foreign daughter with hands
that are too small and a heart
that is always smaller.
Say it like this:
dictionary girl who knows Seoul,
who knows American dream,
but is missing the definition
of home.

Say it like this: sunrise
is the only constant. Chase it
halfway around a spinning
miracle of blue.

Now come back. The dark
is only dark if there is light
somewhere. Say it like this:
mouthful of snowmelt,
current like bloodstream,
hand skimming the bottom
for luck.

Christina Im

Christina Im is a wordsmith, armed and dangerous, and an ardent believer in ghosts. She received a national gold medal and a national silver medal in the 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her work either has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications, including -Ology Journal, Young Adult Review Network, Foxglove Hymnal, and GREYstone. In addition, she serves as the editor-in-chief of The Teacup Trail, a lit/art magazine. Christina can be found online at