by Cristiana Baik


My second life began with fabrication
my other name plucked from a book
by Auntie Kyung, in a plane ride to California
from Seoul. In the breach that was the Pacific
what was familiar became interpretation
that always-constant point of reference:
ghost-shades of adolescence toward
transformation—that different place
rewritten: where I was born. Life became
about arriving, property lines and furniture, new
rooms thus dividing walls, eating spaghetti
with chopsticks, a washing machine and never
drying clothes out in the sun. My father’s absence
and golf clubs, cardboard boxes and accumulation.
That’s why we marry, my friend Alex explains.
That’s why we write and get tattoos.

Objet Trouvé

Mid afternoon hour’s changing
light—fetching. Thunderstorms in distance
resemble washed-over paintings, blue
sanded down pale. In a dream, there
were no paths or roads. Just
piled-up stones where trees began
to grow. In another dream
a hat, obsidian, wire mesh, broken shells
and plastic buoys. Hula-hoops. He said,
This is an encounter, all the while I thought
it impasse, watching the delicate rupture, flood
of light darkening into vast open
space. I was left with found fragments,
possibilities after points of convergence
becoming equilibrium. I told him
there was never enough discipline
only shared language.


¹A term created by the conceptual artist Abraham Cruzvillegas, meaning “self-construction” or “self-building.”

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