Three Poems by Angela E. J. Koh


The Handsomest Fingers in the World

The last time I saw them, they
Burdened me the entire train ride home
The way neighbors bring pie over
And their charity saddens me
It’s the kindness!

But the slimsy things gripped the rail
Fattened into mitts
Each finger a sumo wrestler
Or a ridiculous naked root
At the slightest jostle they leapt about
And there were many flies
Skirring above me

At the stop
There was a living room in my eye
By this I mean I was crying
How did you go through life?
Wasn’t it long and uncomfortable?


Tell me there is another man
Somewhere holding a handkerchief


Gun Shop

night arrives and I am the woman
holding a sniper rifle

twenty-seven pounds
bolt action
punches through an engine block

could you show me another gun?

no use for distance
nor latitude

God sits across the glass case
and drops his head


loss is every loss


Korean Bride Dreams of Cosmetic Surgery

Calf Reduction

The whiteness underneath my skirt bares
two daikons. Each step, I pull a root-nub from the ground.
What is more unforgiving than boys?



No one can stop me. I will iron my skin
if I have to, the crease smelling of cooked tongue.


Jaw Reduction

My mother-in-law forbids me from chewing gum
She presses the sides of my face and does with me
what soleplate iron does to the seam. Her palms
are heavy as stones.


Breast Augmentation

My dress hangs on me like it would
on a coat hanger. I am hidden somewhere
beneath the echo of my neckline.



My husband wakes beside me an avalanche—
hurricane, cyclone, breaking my body.
My bed, luckless as the red pen.



Only I can hear a rattle from the middle of my face
over the heart’s pit pat in my pinched frock.


About the Author:

Angela E. J. Koh received her BA in English at the University of California, Irvine and a certification in Japanese at Shinanomachi Inter-Cultural Tokyo. She taught English in Seoul, Korea and is currently completing her MFA at Columbia University in New York. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, La Petite Zine, Gulf Stream, Susquehanna Review, and elsewhere.