50: Between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice, Today by Emily Jungmin Yoon

I read a Korean poem

with the line “Today you are the youngest

you will ever be.” Today I am the oldest

I have been. Today we drink

buckwheat tea. Today I have heat

in my apartment. Today I think

about the word chada in Korean.

It means cold. It means to be filled with. 

It means to kick. To wear. Today we’re worn.

Today you wear the cold. Your chilled skin.

My heart knocks on my skin. Someone said

winter has broken his windows. The heat inside

and the cold outside sent lightning across glass.

Today my heart wears you like curtains. Today

it fills with you. The window in my room

is full of leaves ready to fall. Chada, you say. It’s tea. 

We drink. It is cold outside.


This poem can be found in the volume, A Cruelty Special to Our Species.

Think about how the poem made you feel. Today, do you feel the youngest you will ever be, or the oldest you have ever been. Do you find yourself more often looking back, with either nostalgia or regret, or looking forward to what may be?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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