not everything broken

the seed has been planted
the willow will wave
the redwood will tower
and the oak will be strong
against your back

this is how you learn
how to lose anger
how to keep sadness spacious
that space within the heart
that knows its own death
yet rejoices

pour yourself like water into clear glasses
let them drink from you
and see their own reflections
and know who they are

the glass is most beautiful
right as it slips from your hand
right before it hits the floor
right when it shatters

not everything broken
begs to be fixed.

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the age of trees

and some days we would just sit in the parking lot
drinking 99 cent iced tea from tall aluminum cans
thinking about how old the tree by the dumpster was

250 years, you swore. i thought about some girl
sitting beneath the tree when it was a sapling,
if she thought about how she might grow up and not
do the things she was supposed to do–get married,
have children, live in a big house with no furniture–

we finished our drinks, tossed them in the dumpster
we knew the feeling of the concrete parking blocks
so well through the fabric of our shorts,
and i kissed you, so familiar with the feeling
of your mouth on mine, so bored
as one must get after 250 years.

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.