1963 by Bo Schwabacher

A fisherman
found Kim Ju-yul (김주열)

dead in a South
Korean harbor

a few years
before my omma

was born, though some say
his body washed

ashore in Musan.
During her birth year,

the Beatles sang
“I want to hold your

hand.” I have
to know—her

offerings on
Chilseok (칠석)

for a cucumber,
a pumpkin,

and a melon—
how to make

something grow,
how even if she

hadn’t heard about
Valentina Tereshkova

or that the year
I was born

a hybrid solar
eclipse lasted

7.57 seconds, it’s
as if my omma knew

Gwanju was where
protestors would die

in 1987—it’s as if
she knew certain

conditions must
be met for hoarfrost

to be seen on a jam-red
barberry in Moscow.

Like a lamb’s blood
on a door she held me,

barely perceptible
but definite. We cried

for a split second,

knees on nature, kissing
—our country, a wild

“honey” beolkkul (벌꿀).

Bo Schwabacher is a South Korean adoptee. Born in South Korea, she was adopted at three-months-old. Bo grew up in Illinois. Her poems have appeared in Cha, CutBank, diode, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Redivider, The Offing, Zone 3, and others. Omma, Sea of Joy and Other Astrological Signs, published by Tinderbox Editions, is her debut collection of poems.