ten thousand kilometers


They tell me that I am so lucky to be Korean.

My friends pour their hearts out over celebrities that I cannot relate to

My parents tell me of traditions that I never took part in

My books regale me with histories that I cannot remember.

Tell me

How does the Rose of Sharon of my childhood join with the red-white-blue that I have been drenched in?

(simultaneously, i am here and ten thousand kilometers away.) 



My mother holds my hand as we walk; her feet hit hard on the pavement, the cobblestone; we carefully avoid the fenced-off wildlife.

"We used to gather these when I was young," she says.

"These plants, 

"At home, it is not like this. There are mountains everywhere you go."

(i reach for those mountains; my body of the suburbs of Americana cannot reach.)



When I kiss land again after fourteen hours, it is on the other side of the world.

It welcomes me with the calm of morning, an empty vessel of an airport except for light

The summer heat of this place rolls over me in a wave, cushioning me, embracing me.

Still, as familiar smells take me in their arms, symbols that I cannot understand taunt me.

(still, i am ten thousand kilometers away.)



The woman holds up a shirt. "These clothes, they are very popular among teenagers - it says -"

She stumbles over the words, as foreign to her as the ones that she uses used to be to me.

"Seventh Avenue."

She looks at my mother. "How is your child so good at English?"

(it is as much a part of me as anything else, everything else.)



On my sixth day, I climb a mountain.



Simultaneously, I am here and ten thousand kilometers away.

This poem is about: 
My country
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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