I scared off my past self by Sean Cho A.

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.