Late August in Galveston, Texas

tae min suh

Late August in Galveston, Texastae min suh
00:00 / 03:14
Late August In Galveston, Texas

[Accessibility Text for Screen Readers. Line and space breaks are preserved.]

I don’t know if we’ll know softness again / drink me

/ unholy water

Like porcelain shattered, or kintsugi

the old Japanese art of pottery repair with gold / my mother’s mother’s mother –

/ a triptych of matriarchy, in migration

A bitter reminder of buried libraries and stolen women

/ stuffed rags in her daughter’s mouth to cross ocean-

/ tied her tongue with cloth to prevent the catch / after

We sit at the altar of Ahn Chang Ho before / the war devastated their home

I know who he is or how he fought / for survival, they bartered their bodies

for our freedom.

 

Years later, a different name and a different altar, but / still alive, my mother,

the same sacred. In Galveston, years later

/ alive

At 96 years old, my father’s grandmother / doesn’t care for lineage

stands tall over a feast of / blood

yellowed kumquats, today’s sticky fingers plucking at / skin

ripeness into satin cloth. lamenting / mother shot

the squirrel’s theft of morning routine / gone

/ home / my mother

The flowers bloom / still / in her garden / and / carved delicately / spears

for her gallery on Postoffice Street / hollowed / out / of / persimmon / distributing

quail yolk ornaments to wear / a flesh noose

around the neck,

 

her flowers on postcards – printed just for me, / two summers before

gripped by two pulsing hands / I became my mother’s daughter / somewhere

/ in between a bar near Gang-nam station and

/ his taking / my departure

Aging, like her / bartering

/ again / without / a / body / outside

/ swallowed / whole / we / wept

/ it / became

/ undone

tae min suh is on lenapehoking territory in nyc. they’re currently interested in the convergence of Western and non-Western practices of health/healing; anti-imperial explorations of memory & history; and the role of corean drumming and other music in dissent & movement.

Header art: "Arcata Marsh 1" by Nicholas Karavatos.