Hal-abeoji’s Wish (Finding Uncle)

Hal-abeoji's Wish (Finding Uncle) is the picture book for children by Byung A. Fallgren. 
To view and buy the book for your children and grandchildren please go to: 


Excerpt from the editor's note:

This is a children's book about the division between North and South Korea and how
it affects families right up to this day. A young boy wants to help his ailing grandfather
to see his brother again after many years and must first find him in North Korea.
The story details how he goes about this, the actual process families must go through,
and leaves the reader with hope for a reunion between the elderly brothers.

This is a really important piece that children everywhere should read and discuss. 
While painful, the plight of separated families in North and South Korea is something
that needs to be spoken of more broadly, and this book is a wonderful way to do that.  




Robert Frost (1874--1963)

How countlessly they congregate
    O'ver our tumultuous snow,
Which flows in shapes as tall as tree
    when wintry winds do blow!--

As if with keenness for our fate,
    Out faltering few steps on
To white rest, and place of rest
    invisible at dawn,--

And yet with neither love nor hate,
    those stars like some snow-white
Minerva's snow-white marble eyes
 without the gift of sight.


Ten Days

Ten Days

The bell shattered the silence.
She opened the door ajar, the chain in safety;
her heart leaps to see his face, 
the past ten days fluttering in her mind;
little bird of time.

He went to visit his siblings , and
she didn't go with him. Law-daughter teased.
He might not come back. 

It was our agreement, Mother said.
shortened visit was not in his favor;
her stay would be only a few days.

When young, they were like,
me-and-my-shadow togetherness;
when old, they each have their own shadow;
they even have their own space for ease.

the ten days separation is water;
water cannot be cut. 

©Byung A. Fallgren



(From Substance, Shadow, and Spirit, 
by Tao Yuanming.)

There is no way to preserve life. 
Drugs of immortality are instruments of folly.
I would gladly wander in paradise,
But it is far away and there is no road.
Since the day that I was joined to you
We have shared all our joys and pains.
While you rested in the shade, I left you a while:
But till the end we shall be together.
Our joint existence is impermanent:
Sadly together we shall slip away.
That when the body decays Fame should also go
Is a thought un-endurable, burning the heart.
Let us strive and labor while yet we may
To do some deed that men will praise.
Wine may in truth dispel our sorrow,
But how compare it with lasting fame?

"Substance Shadow, and Spirit" appears in Arthur Waley's
A hundred and Seventy Chines Poems (Alfred Knopf, 1918).
Tao Yuanming , also known as Tao Qian, is believed to have
been born in the year 365 in China. He is one of the great
hermit poets of ancient Chinese literature. He died in
the year 427. 


The Days When the Stars Wept

The Days when the Stars Wept

To be a youth was a curse in nineteen-sixties
in the tiny corner of the world;
the peninsular divided in two, South and North;
joining in the bloody demos, after school hours,
like extra-curricular classes.
mostly out of patriotism; to rebuild the loose system.
the more often the parties went on, the more of them 
fell, the petals in the storm.
Everyone prayed in silence for miracle, to save them.

Then the time had come;
the night sky above the city was blazing;
the air smelled of gunpowder.
Everyone's heart leaped, but no one 
talked about it, in fear of the dark net
that might swallow them. 
the old leader's demise, and the General assumed
the Blue House as the frontier of the new age.

Many years later, the childhood friends still gathered
in memory of their brothers 

who vanished 
in the night wind. 

©Byung A. Fallgren

Selkie Weaning Young (Redux)

Selkie Weaning young (Redux)
Diana Khoi Nguyen

Finding her hide we trailed
                    finger down then against
     grains of fur thrusting shoulders into its waxy skin.
                This is how she found us 
            the past draped about us like a cloak
hands separating peach halves from a care.
              her form in the sound
a pandan leaf peeking through milk. The only seals in Vietnam:
                                               American men with green faces.

Ms. Diana is the author of the collections Root Fractures, forthcoming 
in 2024 and Ghost of (Omni dawn, 2018), winner of the 2019 Kate
Tufts Discovery Award, among others. She is an assistant professor
at the University of Pittsburgh.   



all night long
gutter drums with drizzle
Mother's heart

Mother's Day
poor daughter sends her selfie
with a love poem

Mother thinks 
that is the best gift she's 
ever received

©Byung A. Fallgren