Poetry
12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017

TWO POEMS

Fermented

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—only

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.

 

 

 

Would You Believe Me if I Told You

I.

I love to
squeeze into
places I don’t
belong. Ear
on  shoulder
and knees to
chin I will say
yes thank you
I am quite
comfortable
since I sleep
like this anyway.
Because every
surface of my
body is
touching
something else.

II.

It is easy
to forget things
when I decide
they are  no
good. Like
when I eat
three dinners
the food poofs
into air
particles and
dissipates
through my
skin.

III.

There is no
such thing as a
quick fix.
Once a
heartbrain is
wrecked
nothing can
heal  properly.
Once I make
someone tea,
there are no
take backs
because tea
turns into
coffee, hot
lemon water.
When there’s
none left
to boil, I will
offer eggs,
leftover
meatloaf.
Eventually
anything I
cannot possibly
cook alone.

IV.

I love to hike
in post-snow
mud. Constant
fear of losing my
shoe. Slippery
rock slopes.
Wiping myself
down with bare
hands. How
good it feels to
smile and think I
own this mess.
I unearthed
this rock from
the ground and
slung it as far
as I could
into the lake
because this is
who I am.
Look at the hole.
I dare you
to    trip   over   it.

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.


12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE