My great grandmother wrote in the margins of a Saturday Korean church bible:
“I used to live in a huge home in the North Korean countryside as a young girl. Now,
I live in a tiny apartment along the brown line of Chicago.” I thought of a world
where the Great White Men never decided to split the land like they were tectonic gods,
if she would have been happier somewhere else.
She is now buried in Chicago, where my grandmother will most likely be buried,
where my parents will most likely be buried. A land that both my grandfathers
have never set foot on. Perhaps this is their punishment for smoking. I think my
father worries that these vices have passed down to him, and
I think he knows this as well. Like the one time he came back home after a funeral
in the Korean Chicago church, supplicating that he hopes that he has been a good
father even though I have memories of him hitting me and smoking
cigarettes in the car. My mother has been trying to stop him. I hope that I am never
buried in that same Chicago soil.