Eric Pak

Mama, take me back to the time when your hair
still rooted from your scalp. Before pain dug its teeth

into your chest and your groans filled midnight.
Remember our hikes Mama by the rolling meadows

in Skagit where you would finger the soft glow of the lilacs,
letting pollen trickle down your palms. You taught me

to be gentle to the plants as their leaves would bruise
easily just like how the nurse said blue would coat

your velvety skin. We watched the brook thread
through the rocks, skating along every curve and swirling

in each orifice. It reminded me of how you bleed Mama.
The way the deltas drool down your skin and the drops

dangle from your nose as if someone can no longer bear
the weight of guilt – of looking at your kids with mushy eyes

or wondering if you’ll wake up into tomorrow’s bosom.
Mama you cannot recall the color of that day’s sky,

it is the scattered trail of blue irises, the rust that bloomed
from your cigar, and the ashes painted in your bedroom.

Below the sky’s underbelly, the leaves winnow through thin air,
rattling, rasping as you wonder how your memory will hold onto this moment.

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.