Two Kinds of Idolatry

They crossed the border for an egg,
exodus over Red Sea frozen over
by night providence, chased by red sun
and ungodly idol, by fetter and fly
and famine, for
                        theirs is a coal
desert bearing the face of a hardened
heart, adulterous northern kingdom
of nuclear home and iron abode, death
camp wishbone hollow skin, caved in,
holding acidic emptiness―
                                          but here,
they hear, is a place your ribs will not hurt
with every lent breath and here,
you do not meet your end cheated
by a man gorged on the world.
                                                I am
sorry, brother, sister, that I have tried
to be like you: starving until summer
turns cold, bowing to false gods hungry
for offerings: your blood, your bones,
your womb and sinew and marrow and
mind
            will never be enough. We are
not the same. We have both been starved
by society, both given the pits
of ourselves as insufficient sacrifices
to deities of death, but―
                                    we are not the same.
I am my own fanatic, my own oppressor,
and you: dear brother, sister, 우리 가족:
you are eagle-winged wayfarers
walking a glass land bridge,
                                          fleeing
your home for a perilous, invisible
promised land. There is freedom
on the other side, I promise you,
I promise me: freedom, like enjoying
an egg.

This is a reprint of work originally published in The Rising Phoenix Review.

Ashley Kim is a 17-year-old high school senior from Southern California. Her work has been published in The Rising Phoenix Review and is forthcoming in The Bookends Review.

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