The Terrible Terrier


I love her quiet presence

–  wide-eyed and expectant –

she lives each day without self-judgment


Photo by Jaclyn Clark

She is ready to play at any time,

faithful, affectionate and constant,

she delights in all life has to offer


people keep their distance from her breed

believing them to be vicious

when they merely mirror their human companions


they are mute and misunderstood


Once a mascot for 20th century America,

and even called “nanny dogs,”

Pits can sustain much pain without yelping


The language barrier rendered us speechless

but my Korean grandmother’s love for me was a quiet companion

playful, devoted and boundless










A 15 Year Old Poem (Home)


Home was Tammy Wynette singing twangy about d-i-v-o-r-c-e,

and Lionel Richie on my small radio, under blankets at night.

Airmail from Sunchang and mom’s lonely tears on the kitchen floor,

the wailing of Korean soap operas mingled with Fonzie’s voice.


Home was sex, drugs and rock n roll knocking on the door,

while Lawrence Welk swayed elegantly in the living room.


Home was as long and drawn out as the Mississippi River,

as sweet and sad as my first kiss with Torin, a black boy

who whispered “pretty young thing” as we stood on the porch.

My brother asked, “I saw you kiss him, did he use his tongue?”