Seungbihn Park

Tied Waters

I stir into the aquarium of Sunday’s heavy 
train, finding myself among a crowd wading
their ways through the doors and air of thick 
water, a greased metal bar taking my shoulder
in, leaking some hair towards the lady beside 
me who has her withered hands of soft glow 
over a snack bar, yang gang, grounded bean 
caramelized into frost. Her thumbs continue 
to trace the wrinkles of the plastic wrap. 
Another lady pierces a book in her lap through 
the cracking lenses and has a notebook in one 
arm, pencil in hand, pink rushing into the knuckles. 
Among conversations bubbling from a distance, 
there is a mother resting her palm on her child’s 
lips. The daughter has a bumblebee colored 
backpack with rainbow kindergarten decorating 
her back, and the yellow blurs further away 
like the lustered scale of a swimming fish. Arirang 
plays over the speaker, and a woman’s voice 
announces the stop—yang jae. I break into 
the cool winds surging from the ground and yet 
again find myself among our people paddling 
our ways up the stairs.
Beyond the Flesh

It’s wonderful how grains skip under my boned 
toes, wings beat like paper in flames with each 
pace. We are caged to the market, smell the sour 
dough of fat and the rust of blood, the flies 
and what they feed on. I free my head out 
of a cage hole but shut my eyes as the pleat 
of a flower skirt sweeps over me. The lady murmurs 
pig skin, pig skin, and her skin glows from the gut. 
Elsewhere, the man in suit, briefcase in one hand 
and plastic bags in the other, laments the price 
and not the grass-fed beef. Brother, I am led past 
the people to a corner that will hush all screams. 
In my dreams the shrieking thirst of a chicken, eyes 
bloating to the sky, run through the heavy air and into 
ears like a needle piercing through fabric. The boy 
with a rope to my feet reckons that with a cleaver 
in my neck I’ll still spring like a bell on a dog’s collar 
until they take my legs too and marinate it into hot sauce 
with gochujang. They will grill my feet and twirl 
it around in cheese and ease it with a sip of soju, 
bones simmering in ginseng soup. Burn every morsel. 
Burn everything. But not beyond this flesh.


Seungbihn Park is a 15-year-old Korean student who is currently attending Cresskill High School in the United States. She was born in Switzerland and lived in several different countries, including the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. Her poems have been awarded by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and published by Trouvaille Review, Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine, and the WEIGHT journal.