After School

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.