rummaging

the inquiries into the physics of your body
softer than collision, softer than impact,
softer than all things i had grown to know
as being a part of myself, like this living
of everydayness in split light, one brighter
than the other, but i couldn’t quite say
which one was which. you picked through me,
didn’t rummage, and i loved you for that.
carefully you laid out my origins
a barren petri-dish, film cut into squares
a block of nostalgia from which i was formed
so that i missed what i didn’t even know i
was missing. and then it was too late.
as a sapling i dreamed in black and white
and maybe even sometimes an emerald green
so vivid it almost hurt to look at it.
my hands, as it would be, weathered first,
and then my face, which you found lying
on the ground among the oak leaves
and picked up and kissed. we would count
stars in the viridian sky and the light
and darkness soothed my eyes like poultices,
like the bunch of rag and lavender you held
to my gaping heart. you never rummaged,
only held me in your hands with love so
bright beneath the dark that could not,
would not, take me from you.

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birthday poems

i.
i live in the chronicles of tree rings
a forest all cut down with 29 markings.

ii.
(on this fourth day of the eighth month,
one day before some girl
heaved me out me of her onto the ashes
nearly three decades ago)
the lion burns in the sky–
i burn on the ground.

iii.
as my origins are speculative at best,
i sometimes wonder if i am purely korean
if being so yellow or so white is just a projection
i can remember being happy when i was twelve–
that makes me part cicada.

iv.
he says it’s a lie, that the mother bird
won’t take the baby bird back
once it’s been touched by human hands
i don’t google it, afraid of knowing
whether or not i can go home
after what human hands have done to me.

v.
my small pale life,
how i try so hard to be happy with it.

vi.
i simply stopped reading fiction
when i could no longer bear
the truths that lay within it–
in reality, it is so much easier to lie.

vii.
i am not a half looking for another half to make me whole.
i am looking to be a whole unto myself.
i need to remember this.

viii.
it does not matter if we are the makers of the dream–
we forget our dreams, and so we forget ourselves.
you find me in the morning, bruised and exorcised of sleep–
my lips are left somewhere between the scab of sky
and the dead buried beneath us–
the rest of my face lost somewhere between your palms.
we are subsumed in the grief of our aging bodies,
but are learning to laugh without the shame of youth.