Before a Merry Christmas

Kim Jong-il is dead.
The North Koreans grieve
“Oh, my Leader! My Leader!”
But their cries don't fly south on wings of wind.

Seoul’s shopping alleys are bursting at the seams.
It’s almost Christmas.
There are so many things to do, so many gifts to buy

So much galbi to eat, so much soju to drink.

I sit by the Cheonggye Stream and listen
--not to the couple making out beside me,
But to carolers preaching some distance away.

About the Author: Cyndi Gacosta was born and raised in San Diego, California. She spent a few years of her early childhood in Sorsogon, Philippines. She studied literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in other literary journals such as The Walrus, Monongahela Review, The Toucan, Vanilla, and Skive Magazine. She now lives and works in South Korea.