Summer 2016 - Poetry

Su Hwang



When headlights cast shadow
puppets against the living
room wall, my brother and I did
our best to keep up
appearances: he’d scurry
to turn off the Nintendo
console while I hung up
on my best friend. He splayed
open his biology textbook, I leapt
to the upright Yamaha to play
the first few notes of Für Elise:
a perfectly choreographed
intermezzo for our parents
who’d walk in from their hour-
long commute, their clothes reeking
of chemicals. They’d nod,
father heading straight to the backyard
to hit a golf ball on a string
while mother silently made
dinner—rice, kimchi, Spam—
as we three listened from different
corners of the house, to iron
greeting a tiny white ball: thwack,
thwack, thwack, thwack…




Su Hwang is a poet currently living in Minneapolis. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she grew up in New York and lived in San Francisco during the first Internet boom. She received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Minnesota, and was the recipient of the Michael Dennis Browne Fellowship in Poetry in 2015, and the Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize in 2014 and 2015. Su is a teaching artist for the Loft Literary Center, and is working on her debut poetry collection, Bodega.

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.