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.