About 20 years ago my grandparents were held up at gunpoint at an ATM by three men.
My grandmother got away & called the cops
By the time the police arrived
one had fled
one was unconscious
and one was in a headlock.
As the story goes,
when the police asked him- "Weren't you afraid? They had a gun!"
he responded, "This is not the first time I have seen one of those."
I never heard you sing.
But I know how much you loved Ginger.
I know you were born on northern Korean land
& walked to a chance with toddler feet
I know you lost your mother.
I know you have a brother somewhere in China we have no way of finding
I know your father gave him to that family because he had no other choice.
I know you liked that I loved kimchi
& that you checked my pinky in the hospital when I was born
I know you translated in the Korean War for the US Marines
& again in the courts after you retired
I know the war cost you more than your pinky, some ribs, a portion of intestine, & your lower leg.
I know you were accepted to Juliard
& went to Duke for chemistry.
I think about you every time I see a Sapporo in a Japanese steak house
or a red knit hat and a smile.
I think about cracked plastic covers on the carpet
tiny cups of melon gelatin with chewy green cubes
a well-used rice cooker
wood & beads
African violets in the window
grey tan couches
& strong hands.