Elane Kim

Recipe for Motherhood

a crooked spine / so that your daughter may sit straight // an unused tongue / imported / so that
your daughter will sing // a cup of milk for good bones / that won’t shatter // a pair of hands /
warm enough / for your daughter to hold / the sun // a teaspoon of turmeric / so that your
daughter learns to swallow herself // sugar for your aching wrists // a spoonful of baking soda /
so that the sun still rises / for your daughter to catch // cups of vinegar / so that your daughter
knows how bloodlines end // a pinch of salt / for wounds that don’t close right / two pinches / for
the wounds that do // ox bones steeped in boiling water / so that your daughter knows mercy //
anything left of your body / so that this recipe is not passed down / so that your daughter remains
a daughter // salt & pepper / to taste



In the good years

you were more than limbs & teeth. Back then,
you knew to worship half-gods & their half-
          mouths. They showed you how to pray
          for another body, one that burns
in the dark. Now they say you are only
as large as your shadow allows. We are
          too small for both limbs & teeth. I tell you
          a body becomes whole when it forgets
itself. My mouth as a paradox, or a shadow,
or a stomach. Your mouth as a peach, drying
          under the sun. In the good years, you were more:
          harvest, or first snow, or gold behind all those
bones. If you remember, stay another’s daughter
in another’s stomach. If nothing else, know that
          there are only so many metaphors for girlhood.
          That I swallowed you so no one else could.



Elane Kim is a high school student based in California. Her writing has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She serves as the editor-in-chief of Gaia Lit. She is very happy to meet you!