Sokcho, South Korea


Five and a half hours in the back of a rented van
with the people you love most now least in this
world will make you embrace almost any city,
even one that lies just north of the 38th parallel,
thirty miles from North Korea. Looking out
at those cerulean waters, at families sprawled on
towels under umbrellas of rainbow shades,
it’s hard to imagine the lives of people who breathe
on the other side of the trawling lines. I step
closer to the water’s edge, feeling the cramps in
my legs give way. I watch the fishermen who leave
these harbors never knowing for sure whether they’ll
return. I suppose you get used to it, feeling
you might misjudge the distance out, that the fast
boat approaching your starboard side isn’t friendly.
Do those men kiss their wives longer in the morning,
linger at the bedroom doors of their children? Or
are they like the rest of us, stacking our chips
on the color we always choose, the ball deciding
whether or not we picked wisely? I turn back toward
the van, hold my tongue as I slide open the door.

VaReads Writer of the Week: Leona Sevick - Virginia Center for the Book

Leona Sevick is the author of Lion Brothers (Press 53, 2017). Her
poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Prelude, Tar River Poetry, The
Journal, The Normal School, Crab Orchard Review, The Cortland
Review, Four Way Review, and The Rumpus. She lives in Bridgewater,
VA amid a cacophony of North River kayakers and inner-tubers.