Joseph Han was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. His fiction and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Bamboo Ridge Press, Word Riot, CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Eclectica Magazine, and Hawaiʻi Pacific Review. As of Fall 2015, he will be a Ph.D. candidate in English at University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa.
Real estate (dream house)
This burning house belongs to my father
waiting for wood to buckle under
the weight of heat. The realtor said
he could keep the land if he remained
standing in the center. Like a good son,
I crawl around beams, past melting
plaster burning ripples, searching
for father through walls. He kneels
in the living room, writing plans with
his finger dipped in soot and saliva
mixed in an empty cup of soju.
We’ll build a hagwon here, father
and son. Next round waiting to boil.
I sit by him and pour in the glass
meant for me, unable to tell sweat from
tears on his face. On my own. They taste
like ocean. He grabs his lower back in pain.
You can teach English, I can drive students,
give a tour. His face melts under eyes,
cheeks sagging. No more taxi cab.
I wrap myself around his legs to hold
him in place, a beggar wondering how
much left of us can burn. Please, no less.
My father stands tall – a faithful candle.