Rockaway Cosmology by SJ Park


Sarah Jinee Park is a Korean American writer from Queens, NY. Her poem and short story are forthcoming in Polychrome Mag and Truancy Magazine this winter. Currently, she is working on a surrealist novel, volunteering as Copy Chief for Mochi Magazine, and learning how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

rockaway cosmology

for seven miles
we trudged

along the marshes
from Fort Tilden to Canarsie.
our bicycles, lame horses.

I lapped up
your skim milk twilight,
my inner thighs
bruised galaxies

like the ones
my mother used to count
before she splintered
into numbers
and reason.

mosquitoes
settled on our sweat
and you picked
fleas off my ankles
one
by one

as I contemplated the sand
stored in our punctured
gatorskin tires,
and how often
my atoms have collided,
splintered
with yours.

flight AA4400 LaGuardia to Atlanta

the first time I saw an arowana
was in a tank in Coney Island, so far from home
but iridescent and pearly, a glissando
of stardust between muddy catfish

it slipped through the glass, baring
its bloated belly for me to slice like sashimi
forgive me it was delicious
so buttery and so cold

I just get so hungry
when the sunlight that always glows beneath
his skin has been carved out of my mouth
leaving only singed taste buds

forgive me it hasn’t hit me yet
they say the hospital let my hundred-year-old grandmother
stop partaking in such bizarre rituals like
chewing and swallowing

rain falls metronomic on tarmac
and I pace Terminal C
with a grapefruit in one hand
and a cracked phone in the other

clumsy lovers on both ends
he inserts one finger, then two,
his broken, boxer knuckles stretching
and bruising

his voice crackles
“why are you crying, mi amor?
do you think I’d ever
let you starve?”

no, he combs my hair with delicate bones
he plucked from his own spine
claiming they’re vestigial, just a ritual
“no, you would bare your belly for me”

I hang up, hand the nice, white lady my passport
how strange to be buried
in a country she does not recognize
did not forgive me, past tense is hard

the plane ricochets in stateless stratosphere
maybe halmunee missed her hometown
kalguksu with those fresh, buttery clams
maybe she was just tired of chewing and swallowing

at her funeral, I wade into the river
regurgitate the arowana, bones and all
its armored scales stretch
and bruise

“halmunee, can’t you cook for me
just one last time before you go?
halmunee, aren’t you going
to grant me a wish?”

but she sinks into clouds
leaving me gaping, alone in the mud

From the Editor:

We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.

Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?

The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.

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In Parentheses Literary Magazine (Fall 2019)

IP Volume 5: In Parentheses Literary Magazine (Fall 2019)

The Fall 2019 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine

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