it’s 7:48 pm

oceans drip from faucets and spill oil across broken
plates and palms. i scrub away until the sink and i are
kaleidoscopes, lost, trailing colors to the dishwasher.
i can still smell soybean, though, find it under my
fingernails as if umma’s kitchen doesn’t wash away.
as if my konglish sticks to my gums. as if i could still
wander on city streets to the halmoni who sold fans
and lollipops. the last time i saw her, she sat on the
steps of the metro station, sinking at ninety-seven
degrees. her eyes crinkled upward into apple slivers
when she met my face,

two vagabonds watching and washed up from home.

 

-Esther Kim