Pepper paste stamps
her crimson. It seeps up
her wrists, forearms, elbows,
so I leave. From my room
I imagine her knee deep
in the kimchi, nestled against
the steel bowl filled
with cabbages painted red.
She sprinkles the pepper flakes
speckling her skin.
She massages her temples with paste caked hands
kneading color into each hair
depleted of its blackness.
I walk downstairs & peer into the kitchen.
her hands disappear
between the flakes & minced prawns.
Pruned fingers lift each layer of leaves
lathing the kimchi
as if stroking my hair.
I twist five glass jars open,
line them up along the table,
& watch how she cradles each cabbage,
laying them down in glass every winter.
Su Cho received her MFA in Poetry and MA in English Literature from Indiana University, where she recently served as the Editor-in-Chief of Indiana Review. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in The Journal, Thrush Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, BOAAT, and elsewhere. She will be joining University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s PhD program in the fall, and you can follow her on Twitter @su__cho.