Thursday, October 25, 2007

The first time I ate Korean food--
My first bulgogi, my first pajeon--
Was in an Edinburgh flat,
A surprisingly appropriate place;
Though I was born in Seoul,
My heart belongs to the Scottish hill country,
My mind to the Texas coast,
My name to a family of white American Euromutts.

A fellow student, her name was Hyun-Sook,
Invited me for lunch one weekend,
And over the food she knew,
The flavors of our shared roots,
We spoke of Christmases past and future,
How my family always has Tex-Mex
And hers feasts on fried chicken--
We, the incongruous daughters of globalization.

But we were mostly quiet,
Whether because of emptiness of stomach or of language,
Letting the food speak for itself,
Letting the bad K-pop music speak for itself,
Letting our silence speak for itself.
Two Korean women a long way from home,
The shared bond of loneliness and heritage and chopsticks
Making us feel, if only briefly, like family.

And so when I left, I told her
The only Korean I know:
Kamsa hamnida. Thank you.


Blogger Dave said...

I loved this. incredible.

November 26, 2007 at 2:55 PM  

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