There’s an article on how to eat an apple.
But I am eating a pear and thinking
pear in Korean is a homonym for ship or boat
and stomach, how MV Sewol sank, how Sewol
means beyond the world and homonymous with
the passing time or life. The ferry carried 476 people,
most of them young students on a school trip, told to wait inside
the stomach of Sewol while it slowly tilted and the captain and crew fled.
Divers pull bodies, find a boy and a girl strapped together by life vests.
Koreans wear yellow ribbons, unwilling to bury the young dead
in the salts of the too-quick passing life. A letter pasted on a bottle
atop the short walls of their high school reads: I have loved you
for a year. Sewol, how did I love at seventeen? Lull the clot
in my stomach? Watered with tears, the pit grew vines
around my veins, came out my mouth as petals of blood.
I surrendered and cried, I love, I love! and lived.
I am sick of the smiling slices of pear on my plate.
I read about the right way to eat an apple–top to bottom,
swallow everything. Waste nothing except the seeds.
A homonym for apple is apology. I am sorry, I say
to the pear’s core, to the seeds in the sunken belly.
Emily Jungmin Yoon is a Korean-Canadian poet-in-training. Previous honors she has received for poetry include the International Merit Award from the Atlanta Review, 1st place in the Iris N. Spencer Poetry Contest, and publication in the Apiary’s online magazine. She likes eating frozen yogurt, translating Korean poems, and recycling. She received her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently an MFA candidate at New York University.