Speaking With 김치

2007
Blankets and clothes

This woman I never had a chance to know 

but she wrapped my heart in her robe

and buried it in Seoul 

나의 할머니는 한국어이다. 
I pray in Korean

for no specific reason

I even try to follow the harvest season

but my mom hid my 김치 jar… 

maybe it was for the best 

because making 김치 is hard

and it tends to make me obsessed. 

김치는 나의 심 촌이다. 
I write random 한국말. 

I think my handwriting is pretty cool – pretty smooth 

but when it comes to having to speak it

I stutter like a fool. 

I have the vowels down

but to my tongue 

the consonants are still on a different continent 

and the pronunciation can’t be done. 

ㄱ, ㄲ, ㅋ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㄷ, ㄸ, ㅌ, ㅂ, ㅃ, ㅍ, ㅊ, ㅈ, ㅎ, ㄴ, ㄹ

메, 메! 

나는 나 뿐 한국사림 이 다! ㅋ, ㅋ 
이것이 보초 기 입니다 – 

I tell my niece about her cheeks. 

사랑해요! 

I repeat 

여버시요

안영기시요, 

I’ll see you next week. 
My nephew laughs and grins

So I say it once again

뿌타 당신은아 주아룸답다. 

He barely talks

and still wobbles when he walks

but he nods his jarhead

and his lips read “사랑해요”
I lay in bed

repeating new sentence structures I’ve recently read. 

I think of the woman I never had a chance to know, 할머니. 

Tomorrow I’ll wrap my niece and nephew in her robe

and someday bring their hearts back to Seoul

then there I will speak the language

I did have a chance to know. 

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