To the Korean Language by Jaewon Chang

Katsushika Hokusai – Hibiscus and Sparrow

I was young when mother taught me
how to tame you. We used to take trips
to Yeouido Park, gazing at Mugunghwa
that never perched. You described the angle
of its petals as being adamant, the feeble stem
foreshadowing death. As time passed,
you became slower, taking minutes
to describe its pink hue.

When we went to Seoraksan, camellias cascaded,
sepals and filaments pathing towards
the expanse of the mountaintop. You spent hours
looking at the skies, and I left you there,
white clouds keeping you company.

My new friend describes flowers better.
With him, I can write about my adventures
to countries overseas, peonies carving a path
towards the bombed Jaro Cathedral, grandfather
lying atop a glacial rind of burning Magnolia-

I will write about lola
watering Marigold and Tulips, imagining Daisies

About the Poet

Jaewon Chang is a high school junior living in the Philippines. His works have been recognized by the Scholastics Art and Writing awards on a national level. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cleaver Magazine, Austin International Poetry Festival Youth Anthology, National Poetry Writing Month Anthology (2020), Ilanot Review, Passengers Journal, and elsewhere. During his free time, Jaewon enjoys traveling the city on foot.

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

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