Adoption Day

Mark Kyungsoo Bias

Even if the sky collapses, there will be a hole in it.
Korean proverb

Our cat died before the towers fell.No one was in the ground yetwhen you wereclose to coming home. Mom said you couldn't enter.Said our country couldn't trustthe planes. The mother mouth shut to everythingbut the wind.When you close a country, eventuallynothing inside climbs out. Nothing insideexcept what climbs out of us. America said,This is what happens when we let them in.I swore I would protect you.Dad reads the homily on the fifteenth anniversary.Says, God turneda cloud of smoke into a ring.A little Korean boy falls through the halo;a black cat in a shoebox.

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Mark Kyungsoo Bias is a recipient of the 2022 Joseph Langland Prize and the 2020 William Matthews Poetry Prize. Recent and forthcoming publications include The Academy of American Poets, The Adroit Journal, Asheville Poetry Review, Best New Poets, The Common, PANK, Washington Square Review, and Wildness, among other journals. A semi-finalist for the 92Y Discovery Prize, he has received support from Kundiman and Tin House. He holds an MFA and Film Certificate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was a REAL Fellow.

Cover of The Common 23

No. 23

Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst College

Editor in Chief
Jennifer Acker

Poetry Editor
John Hennessy

Managing Editor
Emily Everett

Finding the extraordinary in the common has long been the mission of literature. Inspired by this mission and the role of the town common, a public gathering place for the display and exchange of ideas, The Common seeks to recapture an old idea. The Common publishes fiction, essays, poetry, documentary vignettes, and images that embody particular times and places both real and imagined; from deserts to teeming ports; from Winnipeg to Beijing; from Earth to the Moon: literature and art powerful enough to reach from there to here. In short, we seek a modern sense of place.

In our hectic and sometimes alienating world, themes of place provoke us to reflect on our situations and both comfort and fascinate us. Sense of place is not provincial nor old fashioned. It is a characteristic of great literature from all ages around the world. It is, simply, the feeling of being transported, of “being there.” The Common fosters regional creative spirit while stitching together a national and international community through publishing literature and art from around the world, bringing readers into a common space.

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