Remember This When You’re Hungry

for my grandma, whose Korean name I still can’t remember

Even a ghost that eats and dies again will have better color.

How hungry we must have been to die in the ocean just to pull at its weeds, dry them, soak the leaves in sesame oil.

Bleed our hands for not even a tongueful of meat from an ungiving shell.

A bird that cries at night cries because it mourns a lover.

A bird that cries in the morning cries because it is hungry.

How do you eat like a king?

Hang the remains of last week’s fish so it sways above the table.

Have a bite of rice. Chew ten times. Look at the fish. Chew ten times. Repeat.

Give thanks for anything you can put in your mouth.

Su Cho

Bonjour Vietnam