Dear Julia

30 October 2020 on Poetry   Tags:

Do you remember roller-skating in the basement on snow days?
We stumbled and soared, our feet heavy and strange, as snowflakes
tumbled down so fast outside the tiny window, like the Michigan sky
was a basket turned inside out and shaken.
Do you remember that summer at halmani’s house in Korea
when we perched on the highest stair, swinging our sandaled feet
through the gap, nibbling jelly sandwiches with chopsticks
and giggling at our cousin’s bad perm or talking about Growing Pains?
What about the year I went to rehab, remember how pissed you were?
How after that, you looked at me with uncertainty,
like I was still your sister, but less?
You probably don’t remember the day that we buried you,
but man was it a shitshow. Missionaries sang all five stanzas
of Jesus Loves Me. People kept asking me how you “did it.”
I held your friend’s Xanax so she wouldn’t take too much.
An addict holding pills for mourners. Hilarious, right?
All I wanted was to make bad jokes, but you were the only one
who would have understood them. What no one tells you
about losing your sister, about losing her to suicide,
is that in one crushing hour, your childhood becomes a well.
I try to pull the bucket back up and remember the good times
but the good times no longer feel different from the bad times.
Do you remember how hard it rained at your funeral?
How your friend Liz sang the Largo from Xerxes
after we’d lowered you into the ground?
Do you know that on rainy days I still hear that song?
Are you still there somehow, in the basement where we skated
so fast that after a while, all we could see was each other?
Do you remember your last breath?
Did you feel me take it with you?
If I lowered the bucket and sent down my lungs,
would you gasp with relief and tug on the line?


Joan Kwon Glass is a biracial Korean American who grew up in Seoul, South Korea and in Michigan.  She teaches and writes near New Haven, CT.  Her poems have recently been published or are upcoming in Rust & Moth, Rattle, SWWIM, Rogue Agent, South Florida Poetry Journal, Persephone’s Daughters, West Trestle Review, The Mantle Poetry Journal, and others. Her poem “Cartouche,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Joan tweets @joanpglass and you may read her previously published work at

Eugenie Diserio is abstract artist from Stamford, CT whose work is widely exhibited and collected. Her piece included here is an acrylic, glitter on canvas, titled "Ascension." Diserio's language is evocative marks, brushstrokes and personal calligraphy along with metallics and glitter that create reflective areas in the paintings. She hopes her work creates a pause for the viewer to recalibrate and reboot. Check out more of her work at, and follow her on Instagram: @eugenidiserioart and Facebook: EugenieDiserioArt.

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