2019 Sejong Writing Competition
Winning Entries :: Sijo
This window reveals mysteries.
Behind glass, a life that would have been.
As I fade from your memory,
You grow clearer in my mirror.
Mom, Dad, do you search each other’s faces
For the girl you threw away?
Without fear, I offer myself to the darkening sky.
I dare to wear her delicate, silver teardrops as my crown.
Through the storm, I close my eyes and I dance and dance and dance.
Swiping left, then left left right
Judging faces without a thought
Seeking love that fills the heart
Oh could you be, my Mr. Right?
Marriage bells ring left right left right
For the fifth time this minute
Winter comes in a day, blighting cold chasing away frail fall.
I wrap myself in a cocoon of cheerless knitted armor.
Delicate soldiers march, ordered by a relentless wind.
A Sijo for The Martians
Your rusty dot whose trajectory our ancestors trace amidst stars
We name it for the God of our own belligerent dreams
Poets chronicle futures until our silver robots reach your red metal shores
I’ve been running in circles, achieving unfullfilment
Is heaven even real, or an invented fantasy?
If I don’t make it to heaven, you can go without me
Make their excuses when asked why they aren’t at your concert.
Pat yourself on the back when you see others holding bouquets.
You have become your own cheerleader. This is a crucial skill.
A Kisaeng’s Sijo
With the rhythm of the janggu, we dance like magpies,
iridescent and spinning, hoping for freedom from the men
and their hands feeling at our ivory ankles, calves, and thighs.
The thrashing waves drown out the cries from the helpless victim
Hearing the sky scream in agony the dark abyss swells below
The ding wakes me from my hypnosis of the turning laundry
Flowers swaying in the peaceful meadow, the birds are singing
Captivated by the sight I sit and stare my mouth agape
Then it fades. The pianist stands and bows as applause fills the air.
The Forever Game
”Who is your biggest enemy?” I receive no answer
It wasn't the jock in 10th grade or the teacher with thick glasses,
You look in the mirror and see your biggest challenge yet.
My grandpa hosts a cramped Christmas, with four kids and six grandkids
When they visit, fourteen strong voices bicker at one another.
In silence, Grandpa smiles. Everyone he loves is here.
During one of Chopin’s Nocturnes
Music engulfs the hall, the pianist leaping through octaves.
As she slows, cold air whispers between fingers to hold a pause.
Then it comes: the crinkled crackling of a lozenge unwrapping.
Here in the United States we have the right to bear arms.
It is legal in case you need to protect yourself or your house.
I think that it is a good right because being part bear is cool.
One More Day
An infant opens her eyes, takes her first breath, speaks her first sound;
a mother stifles sorrow and masks her pain for a moment.
One more day—couldn't cancer wait? An infant, without a grandpa.