by Jen Choi

Sweet Dot Home

The rice cooker chirps polite, formal speech,
Beside the fridge made just for kimchi:
“Excuse me. Your rice is ready to eat.”

Thirty parts for special bosam kimchi.
Halmonie watches me closely as I eat.
I smile back, foreign to this country’s speech.

Then, praise: “She’s a good girl. Knows how to eat.”
She speaks with red hands, dyed by kimchi.
Here, food is mother tongue, our sacred speech.

Chopsticks cinch kimchi leaves on bright white rice,
And silently I eat—there’s no speech for this taste.

Jen Choi is a Nonfiction MFA student at the New School for Creative Writing.  She lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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