Poems of our climate Logo drawing

c/o Sofia Baluyut

About the Column:

Poems of Our Climate is a weekly poetry column run by Sofia Baluyut ’23. The column was founded by Oliver Egger, ’23 as a part of the literary magazine group Route 9.  Submit and read past issues of The Lavender at Route9.org. If you are interested in having your poem featured in this column, Poems of Our Climate, please email your work directly to sbaluyut@wesleyan.edu. 


leaving for school


four floors above a broken elevator, somewhere

off of route 29 and on the other side

of a road you can no longer cross:

tight-lipped glass doors and

a balcony looking out

onto nothing at all, home to

halfway haunting and

two ill-defined figures

shuffling past and inwards

and inwards and backwards

and backwards and past.


today is warm blue and lucid

as you used to be but the sun

still refuses to enter bare: light

sneaks through stiffened blinds

and slips silent onto mahogany

floors, dim and diffuse.

we are inside, where a sonata

bleeds out of fuzzy black maws and

drops like dead weight, where the

whine of warping wood soaks

ripe into the air. and i cannot

hear it from the guest room,

held under the thrash

of a washing machine

still spinning stains

that will not come out.


we are inside, where the coarse

leather of an orange couch

you brought from a past life

still does not give an inch,

yet asks to be sat upon;

we are inside, where ruby apples

are peeled naked and left to brown

for occasional company,

and i wonder if it seems

any emptier than the last time

i was here.

we are inside, where you

putter around each other,

towards each other,

away from each other,

towards, away and around.

we are inside, where you ask and

i answer:


september 3rd

is when i go back

to school,



and i do not tell 

my mother to lower

her voice or to get

more sleep. there is rust

along the edges of a picture

frame on spotless marble,

and there you are,

smiling behind smudged glass;

and there she is, atlas

under the weight of palms

pressing padded shoulders.

and there is love, i know,

and i think i hear it

somewhere in her stillness,

but still i sometimes wish

to hear it

spoken aloud.


we are inside, where your smile is

wide and full of its past, shallow

and drained of its presence.

you say i have grown so tall

and i say you have shrunk,

because that is the joke:

you are shrinking and we all laugh

until we cry, you turn to haraboji

and ask him what we are saying.

he tells you slowly in a tongue

still not mine and you laugh too. you slap

his once-broad shoulders and

laugh and laugh and

laugh so hard that you

forget to cry. then five minutes pass

and the joke is forgotten again

and again:


in a few weeks,


on september 3rd.


and sometimes i wonder about what

you choose to remember —

your age, your spotted hands,

your hair thinning

beneath a faux burberry

bucket hat:

creasing textures

of a reality that begs

to be held and covered; sheet music

you will not reteach yourself

and the cutting of glass surfaces,

among other heavy reminders.

recalling what you have lost,

forgetting what you will lose,

knowing not to worry

but still doing it again

and again:


september 3rd,


two more weeks.


your father made shoes on the north side

of a road you can no longer cross,

rubber shoes that you still speak of.

he gave them to your friends,

you said, you were so rich,

you said, he was a good man,

you said. and i do not know what

he said while weaving gold

discreet into a child’s blouse

that might fit you still.

threadbare is the luxury fabric

of years ripped into

by someone else’s war: years you

still do not speak of.

and i do not speak of

very much in korean,

but i know how to say

“i do not need”

your father’s generosity

that you cannot afford,

though i know it is generosity

that you cannot afford

to lose again

and again:


a week from now,


september 3rd.


and how do i tell you

i woke up crying

from a dream about you?

dancing and smiling and

laughing, you were there

as i have always

known you to be.

battered hands cupping

ground shrimp, nimble

fingers striking ivory

now atrophied and

silent. you were there

as i have always

known you to be. but

perhaps we are both

stretched outstretched towards

a past no longer ours,

a past no longer or shorter

than any future

worth remembering again

and again:


september 3rd,

tomorrow is 

when i leave you,



i will miss you too, halmoni,


i will miss you



– ehp, 박현우


About the Poet: 

Ethan Hyunoo Park ’24 is a third-generation Korean American poet and musician. He likes to be outside sometimes and also likes to spend time with friends sometimes. Sometimes he also likes to sleep at times and have crazy dreams that are super exciting or really sad and make him cry. He is excited to be here.


Comments are closed