childhood dogs

For Derek Everett

when i wonder at this newfound fear of
dying, it’s because my fear is tied to loving

you. & this hopeful fear, to me, is like the
single thrift store teacup on our window-

sill housing a small plant, which will
die, but after that it becomes a soap dish,

& after that a holder for drying spoons,
& then an apple-cinnamon scented

candle, a decoration, a place to warm
hands at 3 pm coffee breaks. it is now

chipped, run through the dishwasher
too many times, faded, stained in-

side, but still roomy. the small, purple
price tag’s spot isn’t even sticky any-

more, & no one can remember who
bought this mug, or if it belonged

to a larger set, which got lost along
some move or broken in some forgotten

box—maybe in the basement or the attic?
its relatives are never found. loving life

after so many years of depression is
like waking up to find that all your

childhood dogs are dead & that they
are being reborn in you every single day.

Author Headshot

Hyun-Joo Kim is a half-Korean adoptee from NJ and a Ph.D. candidate of African history at the Ohio State University. Her poems have been or will be published in The Maine ReviewLunch Ticket, Poets Reading the News, Beyond Queer Words Anthology (2021), The Elevation Review and others. She is currently a reader for Palette Poetry. Follow her on Twitter: @hyun_joo_kim