Memoir Poem : For my Grandma, my Halmoni

Lost puppy, baby ostrich,

fancy pants guppie

3 years old again

big eyes, piglet curly q tails

combed shiny by Grandma,

my Halmoni.

Who raised me in Korea by herself,

after already raising 5 daughters alone after widowhood.

I’m running like the Flash in my red bright sandals

a tiny female Hermès launched into the breakneck world

through blood mud puddles of trauma

glass sparkling shards of violence

Avoid them even though they’re pretty

says grandma from afar

She’s star far away now

after eclipsing death through memory

blinking hieroglyphs,

Morse code using colors,

ancient graphs, maps, signs, symbols and riddles.

But I’ve forgotten what each means

mixed the patterns with sound beams

can no longer commune with navigating whales

or translate bird migration orbits,

birth death sacred cycles

timed in Akashic, Red Road, Dream Time landscape.

I’ve lost my way back home.

Grandma says don’t fear

I’m here

folktale dancing

fan trance swirling drumming as I spin

singing mountain songs

of how the bear lured the tiger

and now they’re married and

if you whistle snakes will come.

I’m wiping tears from your face

I’m carrying you on my back

in dark light, wintertime dreaming,

still teaching you the names of each tree and edible green

in rhymes and woodland adventures

It’s fun when you make it a game, she says,

It’s both Good: to Forget and Remember.


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