Sung Cho

Self-Addressed Haibun From My Future Self

You should stop drinking milk now. The skin can only stretch out so far, and the body only has so much room for your bones to grow. Mother fed you unwanted dinners like a prayer to God that her child would grow a few more inches closer to the sky. Years later, and you are still as close to the sky as you will ever be. So cherish every inch of your body, and waste no more time drinking milk.

*

But let me tell you how the body has so many clever ways of telling us to move on. The newborns now have a full set of baby teeth, and they can chew their food by themselves. The double-digit youngsters have learned to tear out all of their beloved pearls like seeds to make room for sharper canines and tougher molars. Your middle-aged teachers are older, but they still teach until their hair grows silver for them to see that their bodies are begging stop. Your grandmother and grandfather, like everyone else's, use their legs less often now to let their soft bodies float to the sky's blue arms.

*

I remember when the world lost its balance some summers ago. I remember the hurt. When Earth heaved of emptiness. When isolation became stale language. Let me remind you, though, that the body has so many clever ways of nourishing—and Earth is one of the oldest bodies we know. And though the blue-green body has its scars to remember, believe me when I tell you that flames no longer pepper the sky. There is nothing to cover our long-unused smiles, and we continue to hunger the way our bodies have always known.

*

So, love, stop drinking milk, and do not waste space on what your body does not want. Let us eat together beneath the clouds, you and I, the half-baked moon, the citron stars, the soupy

dayglow of dawn like
we used to, like our bodies
always wanted to.

 

Sung Cho

The Burial Of An Ancient King

They say that a body can still feel
a type of hunger once it leaves
us. So they made a cornucopia of
my body. I remember the way
I died—it happened so
beautifully. They stuffed my lungs
with cloves of black garlic, doused
them clean with myrrh. My lungs became
the twin faces on a luna moth's wings.
Then my liver decorated with leaves
of vanilla, lathered in rose honey,
the sweetmeat of my eyes scooped smooth
like soft yogurt. They fed me rubies
of ripe persimmons through the openings
of my head, crowned me with a helm
of saffron and perrilla. Tell me, are we only
noticed once we are gone?

ABOUT THE POET

Sung Cho is a student from the suburbs of Pennsylvania who enjoys reading and writing in his free time. His work is published/forthcoming in 3Elements Review and MORIA. He hopes you've had a great day.