Three Poems by Sean Cho A.

These three poems by Sean Cho A. are trapped by metaphor and imprisoned by imagined time…

by: Sean Cho A.

Remembering Prayer

Common occurrence: a dream
where your teeth fall out. I’m told
this means you’re fearing
loss. Before last night
the only thing to wake
me was the return
of ugly want: cutting
wet mattress foam
with a bread knife
before washing stomach
bile out of my hair, pulling
tangle away
from tangle. But last night
I dreamed I was bare-
gummed and a man
was driving implants
into my molar-spaces.
Of course I woke
in prayer. God,
this is the first time
you’re hearing me
right? You missed
all the quiet wants
turned unrelenting bargains,
turned sweat drenched screamed demands?
God I need you now
more than ever. I want to believe
this: but I know what I deserve
is much worse.


Because I’ve ran out of ways to talk about home

I’ve survived all my theories. The one where I dipped loose cigarettes in iced vodka
to get drunk. And the time when I thought I could tame barn cats with tepid milk. Here I am. 
Let’s try again: for every turtle there are three fistfuls of unborn turtles, whether that be rich yolk the on beak of a proud gull, or fractured white shells on the sandal of an aimless beach he retrieves a beach ball for his lover. Where were we? For every leaf on the ground there’s a bare branch spot growing another leaf. Move on crispy leave, the oak has already forgotten you.
Remember our lucky turtle: inside each egg was the same turtle, meant to witlessly dry in the same hot sand, choke on the same drifted metallic coated plastic bag. But only our turtle gets to be the one. For every hundred leaves, there’s a pile of leaves waiting for more company, a father with a rake in hand, and a child waiting for an amusing jump. Does this make any sense? If a leave is on the beach it’s a windy day. If a sea turtle is sleeping under an oak- you’re dreaming. It’s December here in Rochester, and right now in Busan a boy heads outside in snow boots, knowing exactly where this mother buried the kimchi.


Sleeping Together

If I fall asleep on my back
I’ll wake you up with my screams. My dear can you listen
one more time: it was night and we were at the river
again. It was dark and I walked in not knowing

if I could swim back, but knowing I didn’t want to.
My pocket lint was made of lead. You swam out
and dragged me back to the river-rocks
It’s dark so we thought we were all alone.

It’s night and shadows always seem dangerous. It’s night
and a river-hunter mistakes you for a river-monster biting
my neck. He draws back an arrow- he’s a bad shot.
The arrow hits my half-dead-body instead of yours.

Water, and lovers’ blood look the same in the dark
and your tears are forgotten as the hit the algae-covered-
river-rocks. My dear please don’t roll me over yet.
I’ve been ready for this heaven my entire life.


Sean Cho A. is an MFA candidate at the University of California Irvine. His work can be ignored or future-found in Salt Hill, The Portland Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. He is a staff reader for Ploughshares. In the summer of 2019 he was a Mary K. Davis scholarship recipient for the Bear River Writing Conference. Sean’s manuscript Not Bilingual was a finalist for the Write Bloody Publishing Poetry Prize.
0 replies on “Three Poems by Sean Cho A.”