CW: incest, sexual abuse

Back then when
we both liked

Chinese food
but never talked

about our birth
mothers, I couldn’t

be honest. We met
in Sunday school

where you ate
gefilte fish

which was

the synagogue

under the cantor’s
prostitution ring.

Remember the time
when I sent you

Bob Dylan song
lyrics and said

we couldn’t
be friends?

I’m sorry.
You never had

a dog, a confidant
to whisper to

after your substitute
mother suggested

a boob job
or your substitute

father made
sexual comments.

I’m reading
about incest

A woman picks

up the phone, a stranger
asking her—

did a family
member touch

you?—and she
says that it

did not affect
her very much

but resists naming
her father.

Clingy and frightened
my first two weeks

in America
were difficult,

though my adoption
records say—

I “got over this,”
and appeared

normal,” if I am honest

I would tell you
how scared

I was—
because actually

my substitute
father was driving

high on slick

telling me,
“I would

never hurt
you.” And

I’d be happy
if you have

a dog now
who kisses

your face
after a good

cry, whose

calms your own.



Note from the author: While I was writing “BFF” and other poems, I was reflecting on articles and books about incest such as The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women by Diana E.H. Russell.

Bo Hee Moon is a South Korean adoptee. Born in South Korea, she was adopted at three-months-old and grew up in Illinois. Her poems have appeared in Cha, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, The Margins, Tupelo Quarterly, Zone 3, and others. Omma, Sea of Joy and Other Astrological Signs, published by Tinderbox Editions, is her debut collection of poems.  You can find her at

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Leave a Comment