Feet on dashboard, god-awful music blaring from mixed

cassette tapes, my father let me have my way as he played


chauffeur, never easing his grip on the wheel down straightaways.

Four hours to my college dorm across New Jersey and the Poconos,


up through Scranton to the gulch of Broome County in upstate

New York, not a word passed between us, mile after


mile markers on fence posts, yellow dashes, streaks of trees—

blurred liturgy of autumn, spring.  Summer into winter into


summer, ticking off hours that measured the distance as he drove

and I watched the road that held nothing but our widening gulf.


My father taught me willful reticence, folding desire

into cellular spaces.  Perhaps one day I will enter this dusty


warehouse filled with neglected boxes, find the one labeled

“For My Daughter” and unpack its long-held secrets.  For now, I let


him seal their seams with tape, stuff them into corners.  Recently

when I visited, he sat across the dinner table as Mom prepared


our holiday meal, both of them aging exponentially like radioactive

particles.  Wisp of his former self, barely recognizable, recited


the Lord’s Prayer: Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 


They had just taken out his kidney: the half.

Life of failure.  Suddenly he opened his eyes, looked straight


into me and said, I know you, you have a frontier spirit.  Where did he

even get that word: frontier.  We nodded in agreement, then ate


in silence like we always do, losing our nerve.  All I’ve ever wanted

him to say is: tell me something.  Tell me everything.


Su Hwang was recently awarded the 2016-17 Minnesota Emerging Writers Grant made possible by the Loft Literary Center and Jerome Foundation, juried by members of VONA. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she grew up in New York then moved to San Francisco before transplanting to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota, where she received her MFA in Poetry. She is also the recipient of the Michael Dennis Browne Fellowship in Poetry, and the Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize. Several of her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Drunken Boat, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, and Su currently lives in Minneapolis.