“Dear Yeobo,” by Tanya Hyonhye Ko

Tanya Hyonhye Ko

DEAR YEOBO,

When you say ramen
then I am ramen.

When you say tea
I am tea.

When you take off your clothes
then I take off my clothes.

If I could leave my senses
I would be no trouble.

You don’t give food
to the fish you’ve caught.

You no longer need to hold me—
please drink your tea.

Yeobo: “darling” or “honey,” a Korean term of endearment

from Rattle #46, Winter 2014

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Tanya Hyonhye Ko: “I was asking myself, why do I write? I think my answer will be different every time I ask this question. I have an image of releasing black blood from the thumb. It’s painful but it is healing. When I was growing up in Korea, whenever we had a stomach ache, grandmother or mother or aunts would wind our thumb with white cotton thread and push the sewing needle in to release black blood. I don’t know if modern medicine would approve, but it works for us. When aunt pushed her needle into my thumb, it was painful, but when I saw black blood coming out, I felt better and I could breathe again. There are so many emotions in my heart, I hope to share them with you in poems.” (website)