Saturday, May 21, 2022


She’s been in the family
A few months. It’s her first spring
In America, her first

Few months with a family.
The orphanage in Seoul guessed
She was about four years old.

To make her more attractive,
They assigned her a birthdate
That sounded American,

The fourth of July. Snot runs
Out her nose into her mouth
Almost continually.

Her new family wipes, jokes.
They try to teach her to use
Handkerchiefs, tissues. She clings

To the orange from breakfast
All day. No one can take it.
Confronted with her dinner,

She eats brighter food quickly
And is distressed by the rest.
No she can’t just clutch her plate.

Several months, and she’s learning
That if she lets the food go,
There will be more later on.

There’ll be no kindergarten
For her yet, this fall. She can’t
Speak any English, really.

Really, she almost doesn’t
Speak at all. She cries, sometimes.
She’s sweetly affectionate,

Especially with Grandpa,
A tall and stern, white-haired man
She clings to like he’s her tree.

She will grow up to despise
Her tiny nose, ink-black hair,
And adoptive family,

Some of them, at least. She will
Have one marriage and one son,
One job for thirty-five years,

A strong New Jersey accent
Bordering on parody,
And no sense of Korea.

It’s atrociously unfair,
To have a good memory,
To have fixed a small person

In it with the certainty
Of which lives her life will be.
Let her be. Let her nose run.

She’s happy with an orange
And clinging to Grandpa’s shin.
They, at least, prove family.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.