by Kai-Lilly Karpman
I don’t remember being a child.
One day I was in this body.
There was nothing before. The first
memory is walking with my mother
and holding her hand, allowing her
to show me through the streets. We passed
construction workers and I talked loudly,
raising my voice and waving my arms,
hoping for a whistle. My mother asked
who I was showing off for. She told me
to knock it off. She knew better. The men didn’t.
I wish my mother had slapped me in the face
that day. I never listened and I wanted
all of it
About the Author
Kai-Lilly Karpman is the recipient of Columbia’s University Teaching Fellowship, the Word for Word: Collaborative Translation Grant recipient, Barbara Sicherman Prize in Women, Gender, and Sexuality (2020) recipient, two-time winner of John Curtis Memorial Prize in Poetry (2020, 2018) and the Connecticut Poetry Circuit Winner (2020). She has been previously published in Beyond Words Magazine, Plume Magazine, Wingless Dreamer magazine, Some Kind of Opening, and others.