Back to Adroit Prizes. / Back to Issue Nine.

Mothers in July



Honorable Mention for the 2014 Adroit Prize for Poetry
Judge: Richie Hofmann

Somewhere, a young mother renounces her title
as her only son loses his virginity, his thighs sticky
like bubble gum in warm air. My father takes us
outside during each power outage, gathers us round him
like a child setting up uneven circles of stones
for pretend fires. My mother resigns herself to her husband
as the house extinguishes light. July nights press warm grass
against our necks, hold starry skies with small bugs
that snap at our cheeks as we snap through their veins,
playing God in a small town of clemency.
Somewhere, a young girl named Meredith
is losing her mind. Her mother lights small matches
in her hospital room instead of in her office
and Meredith wishes she would burn the place down.
July marks a season of drowning cacti and vandalized schools.
Obscenity and karaoke rooms, treachery marked
with a gold star and white teeth. Somewhere, swallowed
lyrics and gaudy pearls have paid off as a mother
watches from the audience, her gentle applause
a series of forest fires, inundations of dust.


Maddie Kim is a fifteen-year-old high school junior at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, California. Her work is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine Review, as she continues to explore poetry, which never ceases to surprise her. Apart from being an aspiring poet, Maddie is a tap dancer, and loves her tap shoes almost as much as she loves red velvet cupcakes and Sylvia Plath.