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Four years since I departed the peninsula

That July’s warmth, I have abandoned for the far lands

The Jangma had come earlier that year

Suguk in the backyard swayed to the humid breeze

I am still there, it is still then

I linger in the moment

Though four years later.


But I remember the stifling air

Of my banjiha studio apartment, with only just a fan

The fan whirred the sweet aromas

Of vanilla ice cream and subak throughout the room

And I am still feeling it

It’s all coming back to me now

Though four years later.


Now, I am running back home

My scent, and my clothes, and my soul

Everything has returned already

I can already feel everything

From head to toe, everything.


The cats I had left behind to stay on the familiar land

They had dug a hole in the ground, burrowed the earth

I dug adjacent soil to mend it

The patch of land I had filled was where

A mindeulle seed had landed and sprouted

On soft and wet soil

And I am still there

I am still digging the earth

And I will return.


There’s a path in front of me that will take me home

And it’s really been that long

But I am still there,

Still in Korea with halmeoni

Still with kimchi jjigae on the dinner table

I am going to be back

Though not the same

I am coming home.


I live in the daydream of home

Now it’d be the middle of winter

When the nights are longest

And snow envelops my knees

My boots, once more, would brim with snow

And once again I’d sleep again on the land

That I once called mine.

Grandma's Table

BY June Hyung Kim


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