My Own Name

At 2:30pm, hello becomes ahnyeong,
June becomes Joona, and, in my mind,
I take flight and return to my mother’s country.

Ringing bells & dojang & hanboks &
Iridescent flickers of light echo through the
Mighty palaces. They once housed princes.

My tongue cannot stand the spice of kimchi any
Longer. Coughing, choking, suffocating. An angelic
Apparatus films my pain as my chest implodes.

If I may, can I please take back all the
Glory & the pain & the name calling. I must
Reclaim it all, my identity, before it leaves me.

My name—it’s on the dojang. I am here
To take back my name, my identity. Flames
Water my tired soul as the words settle on my lips.

As my ghost settles back into its weary soul,
I breathe out the butterflies and nine-tailed foxes.
Ahnyeong-e gasaeyo. 9:30pm. Goodbye, goodbye.

Claire Ahn is a student at Rancho Bernardo High School. She enjoys reading a variety of books and writing, and hopes to one day become a published novelist. Her work has been published in Eunoia Review and Boston Accent Lit.