By Sean Cho A.
and everyone else followed. It was December
and the trees were bare and unrecognizable.
I welcomed the Canadian geese to my back porch
with stale rye bread. My past self used to howl
for this and that but I tamed him with daily meetings,
ugly proclamations, and long prayers.
My body has been silent in all the right ways:
motionless as a January lake. The next task:
make a list of people to make amends to.
Family that gave me too many last chances, friends
who by now could only recognize me by my voice.
Now, I’m reciting I’m sorrys to voicemails,
now I’m plucking olive branches from my rib cage
and licking the wrong sides of envelopes.
What about the pregnant women
on the subway who I didn’t give my seat
up to. I told the sketch artist to draw hopeful
and joyous: that face could be anyone’s
but mine. Oh I’m all alone, oh I’m my own
stranger. Soon enough the maples will become maples
again and that not-yet born-boy will become man.
He won’t need a father to tell him not to end up like me.
The clouds will be fat with rain, the pond filled
with cattails: there’s no one left for me
to apologize for what I’ve become.
Sean Cho A. is the author of American Home (Autumn House 2021) which was the winner of the Autumn House Publishing chapbook contest. His work can be future-found in Pleiades, The Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, among others. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of California Irvine.