The Sticks

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March 14, 2012 by The Citron Review

by J.D. Isip


The trees in Seoul and in Songton
are no thicker than my legs

They say the North combed over
South Korea in the Fifties, before

I came to save the locals
who sell their quilts for 25 bucks
and their daughters for a 5 dollar juice

It’s winter—the thin trees push up
through the snow,  black and straight—

We puff complaints in the stale air, clap numb hands,
and curse the Koreans and the Lieutenant

who’s here because he couldn’t take
one more Iowa winter—

A siren warns of another storm…
I’m too cold, too tired, too inept to sleep—
besides, this used to be a burial ground, they say…

The branchless trees keep vigil over us
and the hard pounding snow piles
around the Korean landscape where the sticks

are more resilient than
the winter, the North and us.


J.D. Isip’s academic writings, poetry, plays, and short stories have appeared (or will appear) in a number of publications including Changing English, St. John’s Humanities Review, Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Thirty First Bird Review, Poetry Quarterly, Dash Literary Journal, Loch Raven Review, Scholars& Rogues, Mused, and The Copperfield Review. He is a doctoral student in English at Texas A&M University-Commerce.


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