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The Return

Dec. 17, 2012
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I barely recognized my voice

in that sliver of a country, Korea.

Memory kept its own beat there.

The war long over and the moths

insistent in their night flight.

It was the moths’ bodies that

separated the air, particle from

particle. I leaned closer to hear

the sound of the moths’ wings

touching all that was unseen.

That summer Koreans spoke

to me in the language I too

once spoke, so familiar it hurt

to hear. It was almost too

much for me to utter a syllable

of that old language, how each

sound rattled my bones. Midsummer

and I wanted to be blessed

for such endeavor, for daring

to return after so many years.

I wanted someone to speak my old name,

Hyun Jee. Everything seemed a mystery

tumbled out of an old dream I had long

put to rest. At night I watched the sky to see

the horizon, that imaginary line that

separates earth from sky. The horizon

there was formed from the red neon

crosses pinned high above the churches.

I stretched my thin wrist towards

the Han River letting the water stain

my skin, letting the damp of the river

cut into my memory.



Lora Vahlsing is a practicing artist & yogi. She teaches yoga and art in the Fond du Lac area.


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