Bashful Pink (Part 1)

I remember handing out frozen coke cans to the sweaty workers. My hair in a limp ponytail, my feet hot from the summer concrete. We were moving back into the very apartment unit we moved out of three years back.

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Juniors (Ashley and Ashley)

I now have nineteen classmates, and I will continue to write about them. Just because. It will be a mini-series.

I began this series when we were all freshmen, but we are now juniors. It’s weird. Time really really has flown right past our pimpled faces.

Ashley Lee’s name is Ashley Lee. Never just Ashley. We don’t know why, but it just happens to be so. She’s a ballerina, and anyone can tell just by looking at her. Her legs are like a bajillion feet long, and her arms are no different. Continue reading

The Sun Boy

For all these years I kept my eyes closed so tears could not leave and reveal my heart. And because I remained hidden for so long no one can see me. My mom runs frantic, trying to give my youngest brother what she could not give me and my sister: her time. She glances at us sometimes. I think to find our approving nod and forgiving eyes for what she wishes she did for us. My dad’s work is bottomless, his face almost forgotten in our household. He is a genie. He leaves for work so fast his cigarette is still alight when we turn back to say bye to him.    Continue reading

Love, Sister.


I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.

Hair clippers hurting my nose, shoes breaking my feet

You looked at me and called me crazy

Silver snakes in my lungs

The buzz of chasing the Dragon still colors my sight

You looked at me and cried




Sung Jin hated his legal American name. A solemn man of 45 drawn-out years, his American name was so unexpected, it raised eyebrows. It was Sunny. Quite the compliment to his grunting replies and dim disposition. Sunny Sung Jin Kim. He hated how his Korean name now served as something the Americans called a “middle name.” He thought it silly and demeaning, for his proud, manly Sung Jin was forced to hide behind a skimpy S only after the embarrassing Sunny.

Sunny smoked two packs on a good day. On bad days, three. In Korea, his friends called him “The Chain” because he was known to light his next cigarette off the tip of the one he was currently smoking. The nickname allowed him a sort of twisted pride. Continue reading

[Juicy Couture] Agapao revisited


       On Saturday nights, neighbors would stop by the cluttered counter to gossip with my mom. Saturday nights at Minky’s were always the busiest. My mom said that it was because the poor people needed to begin the week with something to do, or at least something to watch. Although our shop was in a deserted town outside Anaheim, there were always strange visitors. Grandmas with worn, freckled hands and too-black hair shrieked about having to go to the market every other day to feed their unmarried sons; their mouths puckered with complaints, but faces boasting with sly glances and smirks. Of course, I never told this to my mom. She would think of it as rude. Continue reading