After hours spent sifting curios
craft items, packets of instant noodles,
we find the suitcase
our mother brought to America.
Inside, a traditional silk Korean dress
wrapped in tissue. A-frame top,
mandarin collar, striped sleeves that bell
toward the wrist. It’s for a child,
though neither of us
ever wore it. I tilt the skirt
in the afternoon light
revealing glints of umber and jade.
The silk is slick in my hands
and I think of my mother’s
shifting hopes, her hope
when she packed this dress
and her new world
hope that we’d grow to be All-American.
My sister sets the dress aside,
her eight-year-old daughter will love it.
Halloween is coming,
and she dreams of being Mulan.
Patty Paine is the author of Grief & Other Animals (forthcoming from Accents Publishing), The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing), Feral (Imaginary Friend Press), Elegy & Collapse (Finishing Line Press), co-editor of Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry (Garnet Publishing & Ithaca Press) and The Donkey Lady and Other Tales from the Arabian Gulf (Berkshire Academic Press). Her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared in Blackbird, Verse Daily, The Atlanta Review, Gulf Stream, The Journal and other publications. She is the founding editor of diode poetry journal and Diode Editions. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar where she teaches writing and literature.
Andrew Koch’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Bluestem, Connotation Press, Mojo, Rust + Moth, and others. Although a Tennessee-native, Andrew presently lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife and cat while teaching literature and pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University.