translation of hi how are you it’s been a while since we last talked

YOUNGSEO LEE

1

My dog dies on a Sunday, July's rain

a muzzle around my heart. At night I dream

about the trails behind my house where we

weaved in and out of trees, bellies

hanging & knees scabbed. This poem is

 

about life. I know. My spittooned dog. God.

In the beginning, all the world was America*

so I lie still on her tracks, wait for the talons

to sink into steel. My bones sold for a carton

of milk. My face washed ashore on this desert

 

of the most golden grain. Good citizen

with the right features, only the wrong

eyes. Wrong name. But I want to say he loved

me anyway. My dog, I mean, the one

who drowned in sand. My mother tells me

 

to follow my dog's tango, tangle with our flag

until all the poppies drop. By morning, stoplights

stuck on red & the roads splitting themselves

open for the next super bloom. Look

how quickly I learn. I promise I can be better

 

than this city’s exhaust, better than the letters

pillaging the fields, all the right ones for god

& the wrong ones for myself: dog, immigrant,

god, god I love how good you are to me.

*From Two Treatises of Government by John Locke

YOUNGSEO LEE is an eighteen year old from Seoul and Arizona. A 2020 National YoungArts Finalist in Creative Nonfiction and cat lady with no cats of her own, she has work that has appeared or is forthcoming in Entropy, Emory Lullwater Review, Bitterfruit Review, and more.

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