Portrait of the Korean Adoptee with Partial Alphabet
A propeller swats through your chest when you think of her.
I landed in San Francisco, from Seoul, on October 12, 1971.
There was not a parade.
Could have been a cop, could have been an employee,
could have been my birth mother who named me: Lee Kwang Soo.
Please pass the cucumber kimchi. Please, the lemon soju.
Please, the blotted history.
Meat will keep you happy. You will think of me when you get hungry.
He fails math when stories are introduced, begins to care less
about numbers and more about arcs, shadows, plots, and lies.
Outside the Express Train Station, in May, there are blooms
so light they could evaporate. You should go there to find out for yourself.
He speaks five languages. We had beer and dried squid near KoRoot.
He is angel. Some kind of work is just holy.
Eulogy. Egg. The world wide wasted elegies.
Good luck, good times, good boy, good banchan.
Imjing River. In Daejeon, we almost got lost.
Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Jane Jeong Trenka. Some kind of art is this pure.
Lee Kwang Soo is my birth name. I am 39. I will not go on.
May 6, 2008, I discovered I was born in or near Daejeon.
Nam Dae Mun is not on fire in my dream. There is no smoke.
9143 is my Holt case number. You should see my photo. I was plump and shocked.
Shim Soon-Duk . Sun Yung Shin.
When one sense fails you, the other five will save your life.
X, ex, axes, axis. We are not evil.
You piece together what you can, when you can.
In the meantime, breathe as if your chest is an ocean.
Lee Herrick is the author of two books, Gardening Secrets of the Dead (WordTech Editions , 2012) and This Many Miles from Desire (WordTech Editions, 2007). His poems have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies, including The Bloomsbury Review, ZYZZYVA, Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley, 2nd edition, and Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, among others. Born in Daejeon, South and adopted at ten months old, he lives in Fresno, California and teaches at Fresno City College and in the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.