Sijo No. 1
at the edge I sometimes catch wisps of my big white childhood
two white dogs barking madly two sisters jumping taut rope
it’s as if they were neatly glassed all those years or I’m glassed out
Sijo No. 2
the word for container rhymes with home it’s what comes first to me
the word for fish bone’s the same as for thorn as splinter
little thorn- bone splinter me whole again show me you exist
. . .
raw fish bleeding through a pile of newspapers
a skinny road with no shoulders
plane trees, fresh tar and stale bus diesel, men
riding bicycles in white cotton masks, though not
necessarily in that order
stick of rice cake burnt on one side, the frayed gloves
handing it to me red, then I’m peeling back the foil
the ice beneath the snow is yellow
hard like an ancient scab
we sing carols on the dark drive home, we have
the only car in the neighborhood, a garden and a gate
that locks us in, there is no
natural order to recollecting this
see these sunlit windowpanes
I stare out this morning, how miraculously they fit
side by side
. . .
Here is the six-year-old pressing her ear
against the hallway door that’s always locked
here’s the mirror and the clock with two brass tongues
rocking back and forth see how daylight
floods the screen door always in her memory open it
to the porch down the steps into the garden
high with weary sunflowers nodding heads
leaves rust the shallow pond here the sun
beats fiercely and the children make up games like
jump down steps catch leaves with your stick in
the flat brown water that’s a drainage ditch
my sister says years later you used to play in it
. . .
In the book Tommy Goes to the Doctor
there’s a human half and a rabbit half.
Everything Tommy does the rabbit does,
but you flip backwards from the end to read it.
The rabbit sits nicely on the doctor’s table,
waiting for his perfectly orange carrot.
Our house in Seoul had two front doors:
one for the humans, one for the rabbits.
The rabbits had no inside bathroom, no
refrigerator stocked with ice cream.
When the humans wanted to play, well, they
walked outside and rapped on the little door—
the door in the hallway was always locked,
just a knob and four neat cracks in the wall.
I would stand there sometimes, nibbling a cookie,
in my bare feet, listening—
. . .
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