Maria Picone

Reason for relinquishment: “…the natural mother realized her pregnancy too late and gave birth to the baby without any plan…”
-Adoption papers of Kim Soo Yeong, private records

fuck your mom                                                    “27/elementary school graduate/none/unwed”

your dad                                                         “32/junior high school graduate/peddler/unwed”

tell me without telling me my mom’s a whore                who “happened to get acquainted with”

these thin sheets of paper that show                                                             me as “adoptable”

why I wished to be                                                                                            an abortion

why my suicidal ideas weren’t self-erasure but pain-erasure       throw out baby with bathwater

try to get through all the trauma even if the consequence is                                               you

back to nihilism                                                 an idea your mom should have contemplated

glorious void                                                       an idea your mom should have reconsidered

unthinking                                                                      an idea not available to your mom

un-existing                                                                           an idea your mom didn’t choose

for you, “healthy and cute”                                                                           chosen anyway

baby girl                                                                                           you parents’ daughter


I do what I have to to live. I do what I have to, to live. I do what I have, too, to live. I do what I

have to live. I have to live. I have to live I have to                                   she chose to have me


Maria S. Picone/수영 is a Korean American adoptee who won Cream City Review’s 2020 Summer Poetry Prize. She has been published in Tahoma Literary Review, The Seventh Wave, Fractured Lit and Best Small Fictions 2021. Her work has been supported by Lighthouse Writers, GrubStreet, Kenyon Review, and Tin House. She is a 2022 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Kundiman Fellow and Chestnut Review’s managing editor. Her website is, Twitter @mspicone.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021