2022 Sejong Writing Competition
Winning Entries :: Sijo
A slur of crickets builds tension and tensile strength noises,
winding and unwinding, violin strings snapping every night.
I shout stop. Silence in the hot night. Then frogs start bassoons.
Mourning My Mom
All those months of hospice
I pictured us easing into goodbye:
Family gathered at the end,
taking turns holding her hand.
Then she died suddenly alone,
leaving us empty-handed.
Hot coffee, black; no sugar.
French Press, Turkish—just let me know.
Sitting down with some fresh pancakes…
Mornings with you are a dream.
I can now barely remember
How it felt with you next to me
the sun (and its arms)
if i am the sun, then you
are the ever-lovely night.
daily i chase you when i rise
just to see you fade from the sky.
is this love? rays always stretching
towards things i can never reach.
“Doing the dirty work,”
they say about my kind of work.
If you saw the sorrow and sadness
within their eyes and souls,
you too would do the “dirty work”
to bring them a sliver of joy.
I grew the seeds you planted in my head: my veins burst with buds,
my tears sweet with nectar; for you I became a garden.
But still, you flutter by, lured by the scent of what’s out of reach.
June 26, 2015
The bells chime ringing out joy
white lace trails throughout the halls
Celebrating love and light
but some frown offended
Disgusted by the ceremony
it's different when it's two brides
Late night witchcraft
Sizzle and pop. I'm summoning the sandman with my cauldron pot
Cumin, nutmeg, and chamomile I stir into my goblet
I drink a sip of tea and fall into a deep, dream-filled sleep
Disgustingly, I stare at her. She's so ugly. I hate her.
Frayed fingernails. Acne-covered skin. Chubby body. Stained teeth.
I despise her. I wish I could punch her. But then the mirror would shatter.
“sturdy shoes will walk you to better places” mother told me
so she stitched daffodils, storks, and crescent moons on the leather
those shoes don’t fit me anymore, replaced with shoes bought with dreams
I scratch behind his soft ear as he slowly drifts off to sleep.
It’s been a long day for my best friend – my canine companion.
The vet pats my shoulder and says, “I’m so sorry for your loss.”