Home > Poetry > Letters to Omma—Reunion
profile/bo-hee-moon.md
Published: Sun Oct 1 2023
Eva Lin Fahey, Fading (detail), 2022, watercolor on paper​​​
Online 2023 Nature Loss Journeys
Letters to Omma—Reunion

Wild Korean
ginseng 

needs to remain
untouched

for years,
growing

in the mountains,
long roots

like witchy hair. 
On a flight

across continents,  
I was yanked

from my country 
and later fed soymilk

formula. Placed in
the arms 

of my substitute
father, who

mistook 
my affection

for consent.
He called me

“His date.”
Like a sick joke

I developed 
early

as some
girls do 

in predatory
families. “Daughters

marry their fathers,”
he said, grinning,

and named
my future baby Epiphany. 

He consumed
whatever he

wanted, his
speech

around me
like an arm  

in the $1 movie
theater. But

he does not know
my new address. My nature 

is of my
birth mother,

I comfort a girl
crying quietly

in a bathroom 
stall. Renewing 

the earth, water
moves across rice

paddies and clover—
scarring forms

on the taproot
of ginseng

with each years’
new leaves. 

The bitter red
fruit attracts

wood thrushes
where I live now—

a sudden spring
pea, eastern

pink light,
flowering gently

before me.  
My birth

mother was
not nameless.

She had a scent,
a sound.

I wonder
if she visited

the spirit mothers,
yeo-sanshin, of the Korean

mountains
and prayed

for a child
and for the rain,

for my birth
father to be other

than he was.
If I could

meet my birth
mother again,

I would begin by
looking into her eyes,

a fragile depth
between us,

black loam
for my tender roots.

  

Next up: the portfolio’s art feature, “Dreaming of the Mother Tongue” by Eva Lin Fahey

Poetry
Dead Reef
by Enrique S. Villasis
Translated from the Filipino by Bernard Capinpin
AGNI 94 Loss Nature Journeys
Poetry
Take Utah
AGNI 4 Journeys Loss Nature
Poetry
Fallow
AGNI 3 Journeys Loss Nature
Poetry
Tiger Mom
Online 2023 Journeys Family Loss

Bo Hee Moon is the author of the debut poetry collection Omma, Sea of Joy and Other Astrological Signs (Tinderbox Editions, 2021). Her poems have appeared in Cha, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, AGNIThe Margins, Tupelo Quarterly, Zone 3, and elsewhere. Born in South Korea, she was adopted at three months old and grew up in Illinois. She previously published under a different name. boheemoon.com (updated 10/2023)

Back to top