Our Ford Granada was the center of my universe: fake wood
paneled doors, beige interior, piano sized hood. Cityscapes whizzed by
like a movie shot from a train barreling down wobbly tracks
ready to fly off the rails. Everything stood as entertainment; I spied
dueling squirrels, fleets of buses, mothers lulling strollers, swarms of
pigeons & chess players in the park… All the ways to keep
from listening to them bicker, neither able to yield or raise
a white flag as father launched the station wagon like a rocket ship--
bricks for feet—burning rubber to orbit the diorama of the solar system
I made for Mr. McGee’s science class to travel to Styrofoam Jupiter, Mars,
then back. When fuel ran low, my brother & I’d blow fiery breath against rear windows
then stamp closed hands, draw in toes: collage of teeny footprints
of intrepid astronauts doomed to hike the craters of the ashen moon
(One of these days Alice...one of these days, bam, zoom, straight to the moon!) & drift
past the deaf expanse of space alone.
Never a punch or slap across the countenance: greatness is greater in smashing—force equals exertion against
the farthest wall. Hypotenuse is more than the sum of its parts: pearls of a dinner plate plus Heineken emeralds
have a higher volume than the density of their whole. Take the square root of ardor then round to the nearest
positive integer, yielding a hunger that does not exceed the mean. When she called the cops, we peered through
the keyhole from a dream within a dream. Booming voices fractured certitude as he cowered at their feet.
Their authority: a compound fraction. Two white men in uniform over an immigrant man and his wife in fetal
positions—neither able to comprehend their simple commands. Get down. Put your hands up. Up! Stay down!
Down! Two children hiding in the closet to devise magic carpets—he no longer adding up to an invincible giant--
fractal rage lost in translation. Hands folded in prayer, kneeled in a right angle to factor: (x) must never happen
again. Multiply (y) into the denominator of exponential decay. Divide extraction to posit true values of coveting
zero = the summation of erasures.
-- Su Hwang is an award-winning poet whose debut collection BODEGA is a finalist for the 2018 Lindquist & Vennum Book Prize with Milkweed Editions. Born in Seoul, she called NYC and San Francisco home before transplanting to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota, where she received her MFA in Poetry. She is a VONA alum, teaches creative writing with the Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop, and is the co-founder of Poetry Asylum with poet Sun Yung Shin. Su currently lives in Minneapolis.