second language

i wonder what my parents felt
when their daughters
one day
woke up, with english
rolling off-of-their-tongue
as if it belonged to them
all along.


greatest exchange

who was the woman before us, before marriage
before america. 
from the very few blurry photos i've seen,
she looked carefree- almost rebellious
in the most liberating way.
laughing with her friends
i can almost hear it
i wonder... what wishes filled her heart?
immigrant life was a price she paid
youth for age
native for visitor
her dreams for her daughters.



it's possible to miss 

someone, whom you've never met.

it's possible to long for them

like you're reminiscing the good days

"one day" milestones i carried

in my soul-

deep in my skin where

no one could take away

your father's kind heart and warm smile

you'd surly possess

image of you is now last night's


fading into  

mere desire and greed 

i miss



we never were. 


broken whole

nothing opens up without

the breaking.

nothing comes alive without

a death

even the flowers know that.

we are breaking

to be open-

to be born again. 


secret to starting, anything

i waited for a day when i wasn't scared anymore,

it never came.

i waited for my work to be perfect,

but then realized- does that even exist?

i waited to be just like my heroes

but that only made me bitter.

fear made me freeze

perfectionism made me hide

idolizing made me compare

only in grace, i found a way to begin

giving me permission to show up,

just as i am.

one. day. at. a. time.

and tomorrow?

i start again.


to: umma 

gripping her youth in her hands, in just two bags,

holding onto hope, beyond her fears and loss.

these same hands, time after time,

crafted comfort-

filling our bellies and home with pungent aroma of korea. 

the weight that lived

in her fragile shoulders, 

eyes that tried

to find its sparkle,

smile, an occasional laugh- 

masking the groan within.

before a mother,

a wife, a friend, an immigrant,

she is a woman with a story of her own,

the abandoned, the untold.

a story with unbearable shame and heartache, she'd say. 

yet with unmatched courage, i'd say. 


what "i am here for you" looks like 

instead of words

offer silence that speaks, louder

instead of a solution

offer curiosity

instead of thoughts

offer heart

instead of doing

offer be-ing 

for be-ing feels like 

warmth of the sun-

even with the cloud over my head

you walk with me.