Junnam Province, My Birthplace

I dream that I need to get to Korea,
but the cabs will never come, only
a rental car held together with duct tape.
I wonder if my poems can be folded
into a tiny boat large enough
to carry me across the yellow sea
and deliver me to my birthmother—
a saleswoman who graduated high school,
who found my birth unfavorable,
who met my father at a pleasure garden—
a married man.
I teach two adopted Asian girls,
one from China, one from a country I can’t pronounce.
They know they miss their birthmothers.
I’m only beginning to recognize my abandonment.
I am only beginning to fold
my birth records into paper airplanes.


Bo Schwabacher’s poems have appeared in CutBank, diode, Muzzle, Redivider, Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, Rust+Moth, Vinyl, and elsewhere. Her first book of poems, A Korean Bathhouse in Dream City, is being released by YesYes Books. She teaches at Northern Arizona University.