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My Grandmother, Praying by J.H Yun

Bless this December day, so mild we might finally undress,

drink corn-silk tea cold as it should be without shivering.

Bless this home and its four corners,

the rice in our bowls, though it is infested.

Bless this stone cut family, so determined not to waste.

Bless the weevils, whole or quartered, peppering the grains

bori masking the taste, their hard husks we chew through.

Bless the hen we braised, the rice wine’s effervescence

the milk thistle and stewed burdock, bless them too.

Bless my daughter in her oscillating moods,

her moments of tenderness that set my teeth aching.

Bless my granddaughter, though she’s forsaken you.

Forgive the body, this naked mollusk thing,

I know what it can do.

Slit and puncture wound, I’ve seen a red sky

escape through. Blue knife of morning, dusk

at comfort stations where girls were halved stone fruit


I do not resent you.

Bless the ones still tethered to earth,

who grapple with their own disappearing.

Let them soon reunite with viscera and bone,

forgiven to whole, and rejoice

for there are no burning cities

waiting to inherit them.


J.H. Yun is a Korean-American poet from California. A recent MFA graduate from New York University, her work can be found or is forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, Fugue, River Styx, AAWW The Margins, and elsewhere.

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