I know my birth mother is sorry

because she tells me every day

Each year she ages

and I don't learn the Korean verbs that matter

The ones that could say,

please, cancel this war

please, stand up

please, hold your fire,

hold anything

Instead, only:

yes I am eating well

are you eating well

yes, I am happy

are you happy

and bogoshipuhyo

I miss you

which is a difficult word to say in any language

except to loved ones who you know you'll see again

and to strangers who you don't want to die afraid

on my adopted mother's tongue it means you are not here

on my birth mother's tongue it means I want to see your face

on my tongue it means you have found me and will not lose me

See, I was sorry before I was ever born

Sometimes an apology will lie to survive

One day my son's grandchildren will forgive us

#nationalpoetrymonth day 25