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Patrick Hicks

For My Internationally Adopted Son

We haven’t met but the flow of medical reports
say you’ve got two lower teeth now,
and that you respond to your name, “Min-gyu”.
“Warm-hearted and thoughtful”, reads the translation.
In a few weeks we’ll gather you at the Minneapolis airport,
a crush of white faces, like some alien species,
and call you “Sean”, which is Irish for “John”.

Years later, when you learn to read in South Dakota,
we’ll explain how your second name used to be your first,
and we’ll help you—Sean Min-gyu—unpeel the complex flower
of your hybridity. But, for now, I imagine you in a foster home,
turning your head to the sound “Min-gyu” and seeing
the moony face of your foster mother rise into the room,
playing “peekaboo” in Korean. “Peekaboo Min-gyu, peekaboo!”

Your immigration to the States was planned
even before you were born, even before
your biological parents slid into the backseat of a car,
their loins on fire, ready to bloom
you into this world—yes, “bloom”.

You’ll soon be taken to the airport in Seoul
where your foster mother will look up at the word
“Departures”, written in Korean, and feel its sting,
while your new mother and I, far across on ocean,
will stand under the word “Arrivals”.

We will wring our hands at your safe flight
and when you land we’ll gather you into us,
fold all that we have into your future,
and we’ll go home, dandokjutaek, home.

As you learn about at this strange place called America,
I look forward to teaching you English—
especially the complicated and binding words,
“father” and “son”.