Still open at 1:28am By Kris Cho

Still open at 1:28am

The first time I ordered 짬뽕I saw
my mother reflected in a wall of mirrors behind me:

young woman asking for her favorite noodle dish
in a small town as foreign as the place I called my home

across the street from church, ordering 짬뽕 after service
drinking broth to forget

back then,짬뽕 was too spicy for me
so I keep its scent, scalding seafood
steam inseparable from midwestern
humidity clouding the mirrors that
try to reflect
a more landlocked part of the country
a more seaborn part of the world.

But here, I order from
a man who doesn’t know where I’m from
to me
speaks in English
sends me back to a room I am at liberty to lock —
that I choose to lock

where I drink a bowl of apology at my desk
feel the unspoken burn down my throat

and somewhere in a different state
my mother dreams of a different home
and orders 짬뽕 too

By Kris Cho


Kris Cho is a poet born and raised in Mid-Missouri. They are currently studying at Brown University where they double concentrate in Ethnic Studies and History. Cho competed on the Brown/RISD College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) team, winning the 2019 semi-finalist title with their teammates. Their work has been featured in Visions Literary Magazine and chapbook 0.2.

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