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Sandcastle Proxy


salty water mask elusive scent
of chocolate bar peninsula

we hold up sugary sand castle with hands
—built only a few feet from sea.
our famished fingers dig into sweet sand,
to prevent water from rushing South.

bent necks tower over our wobbly ethnic enclave,
as sand continue tuck itself under our nail.
spirits lure us to bays. they lure us to bays to drown.

US continue the war of building,
building unleavened sandcastle;
only best of best will do for US.

Uncle Sam? Uncle? Uncle Sam?
is war finally over? did we win?
thank you for helping us kill our brothers and sisters?
why did town shaman bite her tongue
and swallow it whole after premonition?

her last meal was tongue
—our bellies already fill with tar and yellow gulls—
I wonder, what ours be? why is US still so hungry?

Good Morning, Young One


As you hide under its creased covers,
the beige dragonfly—our place of rest
—signals your quiet presence.

can I say good morning upon your temple? 

why do you parade your frown 
in this well-lit room of ours?
where did you leave those summer nights 
that were so full from your smile?

can I say good morning upon your temple?

Did you know that in my mouth, 
when I say young one, you hear
forever (영원) in your tongue? 

can I say good morning upon your temple?

yes, young one. I will love you, young one.
can you promise me the same?

I will love you like the sky, earth, and stars.

Pink Rain Catchers


“When will the rain pass?” I ask with no response, pressing my forehead against the window of our shared room. Quiet echoes of tap water fall down the drain like her morning voice; it’s coming from the kitchen.


Eomma is making breakfast. It must be fish again. Dad is leaving. It’s burning. Should I say bye? The wooden chair is warm. Do I want to leave? Dad will be sad.

“Appa bye!” I yell as I race to his side. His face reflects a worn sense of liberty I see only as he speaks in clouds. I kiss his cheek. He kisses me back. mint. I wipe the goodbyes off my lips.

“Appa bye,” I repeat once more out of childish habit.

“Eum” he replies as he heads off to work. The ends of his hair, reaching over the neck, outlines the start of his narrow frame; I watch until I can’t smell the torch of his copper hand.


Glass panes catch my reflection as I take my place by the window sill. Eomma’s sitting on my bed now, reading a blue cookbook—her reflection overlapping mine, against the blurry mirror in the corner of our room. The mirror was attached to my drawers; it had hand-painted pink and green flowers littered across its pale, beige surface. I sometimes imagine the old woman with her head of grey bending down on her knees, carving away at her creation. As a page of the blue cookbook turns sharply, I see Eomma getting up from the bed. “When will the rain pass?” I question once more trying to grasp her attention.

“Day you stop asking too many questions,” she replies, her smile poking little craters into her soft skin.

“Then when will we get to go to grandma’s house?” I ask slightly annoyed, my forehead tapping against the glass pane like the metronome resting on top of my piano. My recital is tomorrow; I have to practice. I want to beat him.

“On day sun shines,” answers Eomma, laughter hiding itself behind pursed lips. This answer, I don’t like. I don’t know why.

“Fine. Then when will the sun shine?” I demand, the ends of my mouth stretching ear to ear. Finally, I will have my answer.

“Day rain pass is when sun will shine,” she says as she walks into the kitchen, turning off the faucet. She tricked me. I unconsciously hit my head—hard—against the clear glass making a loud thud.


I rush to the kitchen, standing outside the doorway hoping to find my answer.

I see Eomma arched over the sink, her hands in cold water preparing the rice. My silent steps don’t reach her attentive ears. I make my way behind her and let my palms perch over her eyes. The rain falls down on my hands—her eyes.

“Ah!” exclaims Eomma as her small body grows a few inches in the air. Her mouth opens in retaliation, but I see my playful eyes reflecting off hers. I laugh because I have found my answer.

Schoolyard Sunflowers


The empty schoolyard rings tardy,
as my sister marches through the front gates
—not even batting an eye.

               Run Sunflower, Run!

My sister spies a man of short stature,
holding out his camera;
he was one of them,
the ones that worked in shadow rooms.

               Run Sunflower, Run!

The men who soaked their hands in murky waters
just to sell dried spools of plastic memories.

               Run Sunflower, Run!

My sister didn’t have a care in the world
—messy hair, runny noses,
without even a nickel to pay for such a film.

               Run Sunflower, Run!

3-2-1 click. 3-2-1 click. (now together) 3-2-1 click.    



sound of his keys are unique to only my ears.
the way they turn inside the door,
I can hear his voice through the twinkling keys.

the excitement of his silver beard against our hands,
the sad brown eyes turning to blackened brass,
and the leather-yellow skin transforming to gold.

I watch him through the lock

waiting for him to finally put down the keys,
waiting for him to finally take a breath,
waiting for him to finally sink

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