Lantern Review | Issue 10

Arah Ko


Little cub, baby fox, devious
one, have you eaten? My grand

mother brandishes garnished
banchan plates, decisive

as a general. Our hands
are delicious,
she says, everything

we touch will taste so good. Her fingers
brush my lips, cup the apples

of my cheeks, thread through
my hair. Halabuji laughs, his grey

mustache dancing on his upper lip.
Baby fox, he says, you’re growing

tails, how clever you are. In legends,
each vixen tail is a measure

of cunning, centuries lived,
organs stolen. Who does not fear

the hungry spirit ghosting through
their walls, dressed as a bride,

her lethal yeowoo guseul swallowing
your life force? The deepest kiss:

a devouring. First, halabuji said I had
one, then three, now nine bushy

tails. You look like me, halmuni
laughs, old fox to young cub. Although

I wonder if I am fox enough,
sharp enough, my eyes not shaped

like hers. Halmuni bares
her teeth. What ravenous love

does she wish for me? My darling child,
she whispers, oh mischievous one,

how many hearts have you eaten?

Photo of Arah Ko Arah Ko is a writer from Hawai'i. Her recent work is forthcoming or published in Salt Hill, New Ohio Review, the Margins, Hyphen, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere. Arah is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the Ohio State University, where she serves on the staff of the Journal. When not writing, Arah can be found correcting her name pronunciation or stress baking.

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