Eric Pak

An Aegean Prayer

After Ocean Vuong and Lydia Wei


I celebrate my tenth birthday
          by shuffling towards my father’s body
                 planted in the sand.
Appa do you remember me?
                                                     I call to him.
The answer is his rusty padlock breath and hollow rasps
                    each time his chest
undulates towards the sky.
                                             Salted air billows through his shirt.
White sand congeals with water
                                             into hazel shards the same way liquid hops
transform a man into a beast.
                                                        A wino.
One last time I try to wake my father up.
           Tap his leatherskin cheeks.
Run my fingers through his leaking hair. He doesn’t stir.
             Wonder if the tides shifted a decade ago.
And now I wait for the waves
                                          to recede.

Eric Pak is a Korean-American first year, studying Data Science with a minor in Spanish and BIP. When he’s not writing, you can find him exploring new restaurants or hanging out at the lakefill with friends.