I Imagine my Interview with the Ivy League

So this is who you are — bright young

scholar, face like white peach. Soft and

luminous. Ripe for the picking.

Scholar, tell me which poison you prefer;

this five foot body of yours could not have

survived the head rush of a hell ride of a

high school career without the aid of

substances and abuse. Tell me, scholar,

did you wrap your tongue around the

firewood of Ambition? Or perhaps

Pressure did it to you; it is commonly

known as the violet liquid that chokes.

So, scholar, ready your arrows. However

many you brought is your number of

chances. May your aim ring true, may you

aim for something that sticks; remember that

I am your target, my iris what you hope to

penetrate. Force me to look at you. I will

catch your arrows in my palms and I will

decide if they break skin.

Asian girl, how are you unlike the others?

Asian girl, you better bite your nails into

daggers and pray that I christen you tiger.

Let me tell you about the girl who wrote

poems. The girl who spoke in quivering

birdsong and shy smile. Shy smile pulled

back, to reveal pearls of ice caps, craters of

moon; otherwise known as the dirty white

pebbles we kick for fun in America.

And gums that bleed like disease. No, I

don’t want to see your thin, bleeding blade

of lip pronounce “raw” and “visceral” and

“my words will bring chaos into order”

because no one will believe that, sweetie.

No one will believe that you are a fanged,

wild thing because, look at you, face like

dumpling, cue the shy smile.

Recognize the space we have set aside for

you and wedge yourself into the corners.

Suck in your breath to obliterate your ribs.

Learn how to contort your limbs at eleven,

cut off the meat that can’t be served at

thirteen; take every poison, for it will

cleanse you of your immigrance, and we

will buy you Shanghai mules. And we will

mispronounce your name with our glorious

red tongues; and that’s on good days when

we can match name to face, but you’re all

Kims anyway, so who cares? Oh, don’t let

this deter you. Even as you stare at your

bruised, broken cowboy boots, you will feel

terribly — awfully — desperately —

eternally grateful to be here.

– Audrey Kim


This poem represents my anxieties about college application season approaching. As an Asian American who struggles with STEM subjects, I often compare myself to my peers and wonder if the elite colleges my generation holds in such high regard will see anything of value in a poet like me. Although the poem itself maintains a grim tone, I sincerely believe that I — and everyone else applying to college — will end up going to the place they are meant to be.


Biography:

Audrey Kim (she/her) is a writer from Torrance, California. She is a columnist for the Jupiter Review, a writer for Neutral Citizen Journalism, and a book reviewer for The Young Writers Initiative. When she’s not watching anime, she’s reading novels by Donna Tartt. She was born in 2004.

Cover Photo Source: UpLabs