Reconstruct the architecture of youth before
Muscles petrify to granite, cartilage
Whittled clean; before clavicles divulge
Signs of collapse.
Nave spine, transom ribcage, apse hips: flesh
No longer recollects leisure after hoarding
Pain between joints, even at the site
Of pleasure, however once
Rolls off the tongue like a shamanic chant.
Kettle spits fire.
We blow on barley tea, listening to the same
Abridged stories––such reveries
We dare not speak of:
Our shaky, common ground.
AUTHOR'S NOTE:My first poetry collection Bodega explores issues of race, identity, class, and marginalization (even within marginalized communities) through the lens of a 1.5 generation child of Korean immigrants. The overarching themes that seem to keep cropping up in these poems are the remarkability of sacrifice of our elders and the sheer tragedy in our inability to communicate with them due to the confines of language or cultural-generational rifts or both. That’s been the most heartbreaking thing to negotiate with my own parents: the incalculable loss of all the silences, fading shards of memory, irreparable physical gaps, and the toll of manual labor on their aging bodies. Perhaps the lasting stain on this generation of immigrants will be the compromised relationships in the name of providing a better life for their children while they are left behind in a strange purgatory of silenced sufferings.