PE - a perfect line (final)

A Perfect Line

When the mother was young,
she grew up in Busan, South Korea.
One day, she was happily chatting with her friends.
Suddenly, her teacher slapped her face.
“Learn to write better,” he scolded her before walking away.

Many years later, in Baltimore, Maryland
the doctor informs the mother that her three year-old daughter
will be a slow learner. Because her child had curvy handwriting.
Instead of perfect, straight lines. Afterward, the mother takes her daughter home.
She leads her daughter to her desk.
And instructs her to write out the letter ‘A’ in a perfect, straight line.
Yet, the child’s tiny hands can only produce ‘A’s’ in squiggly lines.
“Write better!” her mother screams, smacking her daughter’s hands.
She then is able to write her letter in a perfect line.
However, the A’s left side is longer than the other.
This infuriates her mother.
She screams and slaps her child’s chubby cheeks.
Her daughter then cries. Her mother begins to cry too.

About the Author: Yume Kim is a recent MFA graduate from SFSU’s Creative Writing program. Some of her works can be found in sPARKLE + bLINK, gesture, West Wind Review, and Sugared Water. She currently lives in San Francisco, where she attempts to somehow utilize teaching as her source of income.

Artwork: Paul Ebenkamp is author of The Louder the Room the Darker the Screen (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015), “Four Colors for the Based God” (The Equalizer: Second Series, 2014), “Seizured in the Ease” (Mondo Bummer, 2013), and everything at, and is editor of a few books including Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (Counterpoint, 2014) and Particulars of Place by Richard O. Moore (Omnidawn, 2015). With Andrew Kenower he curates the Woolsey Heights reading series, and with strings and devices makes music as Position.