At the Gwanghwamun Bakery

I pick up my pretzels
With butter. She is there
Behind the counter. “It’s
Been a long time” I say
Trying out my few
Phrases. “You were here
Yesterday!” She laughs
Spinning my pretzels
In plastic with machine-
Like speed and precision
“You’re good at that”
“I’m a professional”
She hands me the bag
I turn to walk out but
Turn back to ask the
Significance of the dark
Green lines below her
Wrist. “It’s my father’s
Name.” I nod and turn
To go but turn once more
“What about my name?”
“It’s not there”

 

Loren Goodman is the author of Famous Americans, selected by W.S. Merwin for the 2002 Yale Series of Younger Poets, Suppository Writing (2008) and New Products (2010). He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English Literature at Yonsei University/Underwood International College in Seoul, Korea, and serves as the UIC Creative Writing Director.

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