Wrote this after Sandra Cisnero’s "You Bring Out the Mexican in Me". I've seen other versions, including one by Bao Phi- "You Bring Out the Vietnamese in Me." I wanted to write one for us too. xoxo
YOU BRING OUT THE KOREAN ADOPTEE IN ME
You bring out the Korean Adoptee in me.
The snowdrift eyelids.
The unripe peach arms.
The knee jerk kisses I take and save for rainy days.
You bring out the red button heart in me.
The flashcard Korean nouns in me.
The message in a bottle but the bottle broke.
The fancy chopsticks.
The five year old Asian bob with perfect curled bangs in me.
All of my pink dresses, every laced hem, every inch of frill
every warm white tight in me. You bring out
the tacky bling
in my iris.
You bring out the frozen stir fry vegetables and soy sauce in me.
The four inch, no,
two inch heels so I still look good and you still look tall in me.
The fourth Killian and sloppy secrets in me.
The Dance Dance Revolution in me.
You bring out the airplane in me.
The flame start turbine jet stream flight in me.
The Pacific, in tablespoons, in me.
The quake of migration,
the tsunami of children.
Our mothers’ treasure chest memories
sunken to the bottom of their throats.
The family tree with ghost branches.
of trains pumping below the pavement skin,
of one woman singing arirang into the dusk room of
twenty one babies not her own,
lives paused on lullabyes.
I want to sing this song for you,
roll my Korean Adoptee tongue into
quarter notes on your lips.
I want to make you failed Asian recipes and
steamed rice outta my twenty pound bag I will
I want to tie donated hanboks loose
on our long lost bodies, take photos
of how Korean we are some days.
The Korean Adoptee in me, I am
for someone to save me.
broken history you,
bulgogi smile you,
half cigarette and sunglasses
on the flat roof of a Seoul building you,
let me un-Levi, un-American Eagle you,
let me play your fingertips like a grand piano and
spread our palms out like last flimsy pieces of a
two hundred thousand piece
You got it.
Breaths upon my chest,
your midnight hair in my full moon hands,
and not the language we lost
or the language we were given
has a word for this,
this tear streaked love,
this yinyang heartbeat
beneath your cheek