Burgos Circle has never been this calm.
Circular road surrounds the park, forming
a center island of the magnificent sculpture,
The Trees, the bronze grove of three interconnected
trees that had become our shed.
Today, no school bus fumes black smoke; no one steps on
green plants; no dog leaves its trace on tree roots.
Coffee shops and bars and steak houses
are now under a cloud of dust.
Only a few cars vibrate along the road,
wheeling against dry fallen leaves.
We don’t get awakened in the middle of the night
from the echo of the nearby club’s music, but we also let go of
the night walks into the dark streets around which only cats now roam.
My mother thinks about a new menu for the next meal,
constantly chopping kimchi on a wooden board.
The smell of samgyetang pulls my body out of the bed
toward the window that paints the lines extending
in front of nearby grocery stores. On their faces, a mask, and
a thulian stain on their cheeks underneath,
the residue of dry paint that had fragmented.
Seyoung Kwon (Sally) is a high school junior from South Korea, attending International School Manila in the Philippines. She is passionate about playing the flute, and has been participating in a cultural convention of international schools as a representative of her school as one of the best flute players. As the vice president of the Korean Cultural Club in her school, she is also enthusiastic about introducing Korean culture to her school community where diverse cultures coexist. She loves studying biology, spending time at Starbucks with her favorite drink, and taking care of her hamster. This is her first publication.