We sit at the greasy booth. We’re wet
with should-be-welcome rain.
(Months later, we’ll run through rain again,
this time in Hell’s Kitchen on a summer’s night.)
A child looks at me from the unlit
PlayPlace, misty with coagulated sweat.
I wish I had children
to hold. For him to scold & for me
to lull. My maroon-jeaned fiancé & I decide
we’ll be liberal about sex & marijuana &
whether they want to attend a mosque or a church.
(But all this—it’s just that:
a wish. Not a hope, but a wish.)
It is said: the eyes of children are God’s &
It is known: it takes four years for a child
to develop empathy.
My fiancé brings my eyes
back to our mount of ketchup.
Wiping the grease on the ends
of his lips, he says, softly: If
we sacrifice our young bodies,
if we outlast our mothers
holding our carved-out
flesh, he says,
we’ll get to live
next to nobody,
unlit but unwatched.
Chi Kyu Lee is a poet. He is originally from Seoul, Korea but grew up in many places (perhaps too many). After graduating from Cornell University in 2020, he is pursuing an MFA degree in creative writing at the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his plant babies.