My Omma’s Shame by Bo Schwabacher

Born in another city,
I left her peninsula,

my birthmother
didn’t care

for her body—
by the water,

we’re talking
the same language,

my omma
and me, 새 (sae)

is “bird.” Is it true
that 흔들리는 상

(heundeullineun sang)
is “shimmer”? Naturally

stunning, how free we
could feel. I have

my obsession
in my blood. Going

unnoticed by
the Hangang Bridge

I’ve got the skin

of a poor peasant.
Unable to fix

familiar people,
I return my adoptive

father’s wedding
band to be melted

down and gone. Lighter
in my spirit, the debt

has been paid.

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.