How to make milk tea
I used to think there was
no such thing as second chances.
Back arched perfectly in a 90° angle, I
crawled through the web of
charcoal-gray facades I’d stitched
onto my face, string by string, strings
like those of a puppeteer’s backdrop.
Grandmother told me that my name came
to her in a 4am dream, eyes seamed shut, the
crests of her mind curling up and down,
up and down like
the pulses in her olive-green veins.
And the dream:
A window shatters into a
million fragments, jagged like the
edges of someone forgotten, an obsidian lie.
But a dragon walks over the inferno, body
and scales and mind unscathed.
I am that dragon.
Grandmother makes me milk tea.
The faint but cold taste of rubber tires,
street vendors, silk dresses and silk dreams, the
birth and death of a silkworm. But
Grandmother spills the milk tea, like the way
she spills 1950 to 53, a daughter’s farewell
to a father, the stench of burnt photos,
crimson scars from a battlefield she’s
tried to bury somewhere. But
she’s alive. She is the second chance
that straightens my 90° back. I let
the silver steam of milk tea fog
up my glasses. And I can’t see but I
—I am that dragon.
Angela Yoon is seventeen years old and attends Seoul International School. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards and is the winner of the “Writing for Peace International Writing Competition”, among others. She has been published in The DoveTales Journal and The Claremont Review, and will be spending her summer as a Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop participant. People often find her reading, daydreaming, on an attempted writer's high, or drinking milk tea.