The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Night Swim by Joan Kwon Glass


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from Night Swim by Joan Kwon Glass, released by Diode Editions in 2022.

Chuseok 추석

Today my uncle and his wife will visit
my grandparents’ tomb in Korea
the way they do every year.
They will leave trays stacked high
with persimmons and powdered tteok
then say a Christian prayer as the wind
stirs everything into wakefulness.
On 추석 we remember the rise of the Silla,
kingdom of gold crowns with jade
carved and dangling like grapes.
We celebrate three centuries of unity,
North and South, dead and living together.
We salute the rising moon.
I think of my nephew’s grave in Troy, Michigan,
7,400 miles from my grandparents’ tomb,
his headstone flush to the ground.
Every time it rains the water floats trash
down from the street nearby:
a cigarette box, crumpled Burger King cups,
plastic bags torn like the skin of ravaged prey.
If I could go back I would claim a summit
and build him a tomb.
I would set a Silla crown upon his head.
Every year, I’d bring gifts and invite the wind
into the tomb where his skeletal jaws
hang wide open forever
trying to say one last thing.

Joan Kwon Glass‘ first full-length poetry collection, Night Swim, won the 2021 Diode Editions Book Contest. She is the author of the chapbooks How to Make Pancakes for a Dead Boy (Harbor Editions, 2022) and If Rust Can Grow on the Moon (Milk & Cake Press, 2022). In 2021 she was a runner-up for the Sundress Publications Chapbook Contest, a finalist for the Harbor Review Editor’s Prize, the Subnivean Award and the Lumiere Review Writing Contest. Joan is a graduate of Smith College and serves as Poet Laureate for the city of Milford, CT and as poetry co-editor for West Trestle Review. She has spent the past 20 years as an educator in the Connecticut public schools. Her poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in diodeThe RuptureNelleRattlePirene’s Fountain, SWWIM, Dialogist, South Florida Poetry JournalHoney LiteraryMom Egg, Rust + Moth, Lantern Review and many others. Joan has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

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