Arah Ko's winning poem "Fish Eye" originally appears in Issue No. 61: Beginnings and Endings
We fought over them after dinner, my brother
and I. Two salty beads, milk-white,
floating in a wrinkled silver face,
spine of exposed splinters, chili
oil blood on the table before us. Clear
green tea running into my mother’s
tiny cup. What couldn’t be eaten at that table?
Scars on halmuni’s bare feet from feathering
over shrapnel are like sour kimchi.
Sorrow, drunk heartily from translucent
soju bottles. Each tragedy made small
as short-grained rice, anything we couldn’t
swallow pried like fish ribs from my bleeding
gums. The present has a way of ballooning
until the future and past touch, warping
at the edges of my vision. This moment:
a fish-eye lens, broken eulogy, dark medicine,
lunch. The world outside, bland as water
juk, noses wrinkling at our smell.
Within, a plate turned toward me, chop
-sticks pressed against my lips. My ancestors
asking, 여우 새끼, aren’t you hungry?
Arah Ko is a writer from the Big Island of Hawai'i. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Sidereal, Rust+Moth, Grimoire, Maudlin House, and Hawai'i Pacific Review, among others. She is the runner up for the 2020 Fugue Poetry Prize and the recipient of a Luci Shaw Fellowship and a Lilly Graduate Fellowship. Arah is a current MFA candidate in creative writing at Ohio State University where she serves as Art Editor for The Journal. When not writing, she can be found making dumplings from scratch or correcting her name pronunciation.
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