Best of the Net 2014  


There's an article on how to eat an apple.
          But I am eating a pear and thinking
          pear in Korean is a homonym for ship or boat
                    and stomach, how MV Sewol sank, how Sewol
                    means beyond the world and homonymous with
                    the passing time or life. The ferry carried 476 people,
                    most of them young students on a school trip, told to wait inside
                    the stomach of Sewol while it slowly tilted and the captain and crew fled.
                    Divers pull bodies, find a boy and a girl strapped together by life vests.
                    Koreans wear yellow ribbons, unwilling to bury the young dead
                    in the salts of the too-quick passing life. A letter pasted on a bottle
                    atop the short walls of their high school reads: I have loved you
                    for a year. Sewol, how did I love at seventeen? Lull the clot
                    in my stomach? Watered with tears, the pit grew vines
                    around my veins, came out my mouth as petals of blood.
                    I surrendered and cried, I love, I love! and lived.
          I am sick of the smiling slices of pear on my plate.
I read about the right way to eat an apple—top to bottom,
swallow everything. Waste nothing except the seeds.
A homonym for apple is apology. I am sorry, I say
to the pear's core, to the seeds in the sunken belly.

- Emily Yoon (from Tinderbox Poetry Journal)