Poetry / June 2016 (Issue 32)

Flat Nose

by Bo Schwabacher

In 4th grade, a boy called me flat nose.
My book of Korean expressions tells me nose ≈ pride.

I wouldn’t help him with his math homework,
but my answers were all wrong—

Were you ever called a woman who returned home
hwanyangnyon—bitch/outcast/ (origin) a woman captured,

most likely raped & pregnant?
Did you fear I would be one of—horojasik—(origin)

children of barbarians/bastards
so you gave me a different life?

My book says hwanyangnyon/horojasik
are the worst things you could call someone.

mother/daughter. rape/persimmon. yesterday/tomorrow.

 Bo Schwabacher is an adopted-Korean American. Her poems have appeared in CutBank, diode, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Word Riot, and elsewhere. Her poetry is forthcoming in decomP, Muzzle, Redivider, and WomenArts Quarterly Journal. Bo is traveling to South Korea this summer to care for babies and children in a babies' home. She teaches at Northern Arizona University. 

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