When I left for Alabama I was told Southern families are much like Korean families & though I didn’t know exactly what was meant by this I agreed. The first time I saw a magnolia tree in complete blossom I didn’t know what it was. Each magnolia, a skull dropped & smoothed in a river. Each petal, a ladle for a milky stew. The expanse of the flower, an expanse of a snowy field. I cradled one back to rest in a jar. I admit I’m interested in the most effective way to delete my body. It’s an obsession with conclusions. Chemical, I’m advised to think. Sickness. Though it was a single flower out of many I loved it incredibly. I forget each thing I put in a jar is destined to die quickly. I left the house with a plan. Inside the magnolia are chemicals that defend against bacteria. Inside a schedule for saving. I remind myself I’m innately equipped. I watched the magnolia rust before I threw it away. Cracking between my fingers, it left a trail from the table to the trash can. In Korea we bury our dead under mounds. These bulbs pimple the countryside. I’ve seen people dressed in white standing over a mound. Magnolias crying over their fruit. I was disappointed in the magnolia’s lack of resistance. It should’ve lived so much longer though detached from its source. I can’t forgive myself for going against nature, for carrying inside a whiteness for dying.

Denver transplant JENIFER PARK lives in Tuscaloosa where she is completing her MFA in poetry at the University of Alabama. Her work can be seen in Copper Nickel, Evening Will Come (The Volta), Sundog Lit, Mid-American Review, and Word Riot, and is forthcoming from Handsome.