Corina Yi is an emerging student writer from South Korea. She has been recognized
by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and is a mentee of the Iowa Young Writers'
Studio '21. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, swimming, and rainy days.

postcard from seoul (i & ii)

i 할머니 집 [grandma's house]

from the veranda view, the metropolis breaks
open like a philharmonia, sifting yellow dust
through wooden chopsticks and bean sprout
stalks. old women stir barley tea with coffee
spoons and old men chew cigarettes outside
in plastic chairs. the mountains are far, the tune
sore. calendar pages are getting harder to read,
days fraying in gap-toothed intervals and spiccato
staggers: already, it is summer in seoul. i write
from grandma's futon mattress when she leaves
for work and watch magpies orchestrate
daybreak, cotton petals dancing below.

ii 해님 달님 [sun and moon]

moonlight is split into unlevel fourths by camphor
branches, peach juice bowling down my cheeks.
i wonder if the tale of the sun daughter and moon
son is true. the oil lamp burning, the children
against the tiger beast. the children had dreams,
too, before they pledged to shed light on the trail
run where their mother was eaten for eternity.

if the tiger was such a sesame-palmed brute, why
had the people begged him for rain, sculpted him
into the skirts of their coastlines and islands,
bestowed upon him the prince of the mountains
on ink murals? it is difficult to say, now, whether
their reflections wavered in a well or on a river.
here, the creation myth traces every newborn

wail and wounds the canopy vista. when night
ticks a metronome aureate, the crows recircle
origin gateways.

Couplets for a Photograph that Never Existed

The photo is washed blue chrome under the arcade
light: a lovely couple hanging their arms around

each others' necks, pale. From the corner of my eye,
the boy is the same, but his mouth is pressed onto

another girl's. Fingers wrapped around neon-nipped
railings, they kiss, kiss, kiss—her Virgin Mary dress

and his organically charming posture. I find myself
leaning in from a photo booth curtain, the silhouette

of my bellbottom jeans and high ponytail trimming
through the gold-light flood. They are a Hollywood

bijou, like Jack and Rose, or perhaps more a Latin
creation like Aeneas and Dido. I wonder if he believes

in creation. I wonder if I believe in creation. The Sunday
before, he and I took our prayers to the backmost

pew from the priest who spoke in tongues, clattering
performance for the angry Lord. I thought of the naked

girls I watched have sex on Pornhub the night before,
their delicate thighs and matching lace lingerie, velvet

spines that slipped through strappy heels. I thought
of the fake nudes I sent on Snapchat to quench what

it means to be desirable—blonde with a golden body,
big breasts and wanderlust fairy wings. In the photo,

the boy is sometimes mine and sometimes someone
else's, depending on the season summit; his coming

and going lust for amphetamines and a foreign tooth:
dark-haired, cat-eyed, chinned with soybean milk. To

streak my lips with sesame oil or spoon it down my
throat. To turn my back on this city or wait for it to do

it first. To part my thighs at his oxidizing presence or weep
in a chaste dress at the church altar. When he comes home

for the summer, the girl in the photo reappears,
and our knuckles draw ghosts from cigarette smoke.

Back to Front.