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Mark Kyungsoo Bias

Lately, life is ordinary.My words are mechanical over dinner platesat social gatherings. The party. The people. I can’t digest it.*On the news, the anchor speaks a massacre.The body count climbing as the microwavebeeps. Then an infomercial for bathrobes.I tiptoe around the screamingengine.*The air is in flux with the mind.The heart and its jurisdictions are erased.*My answer to the inevitablequestion: I am okay.*The dying are never saying goodbyebecause it takes something from the living.Everything orbits the next delusion.Already dead, but still in transit.*The sickness does not enter. I step into it, leavingmy footprints at its teeth.I am afraid of what the air will do to me.*With his last breath, my grandfather says, lunker.A lake of wine, cedar bark, cigar smoke. He revisits and vanishes.*I am having one of those morningswhen I place the past inside a boxand place the box on my desk, waitingfor something to happen.*I am vicious,laced with death like everyone else.*Darkness falls over everything except the front yard wherea square of light opens the grass.*Down the hall, the past is barking at the front door.                                The hall becomes a river to wade, a smear of color.

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Mark Kyungsoo Bias is a Korean American writer, educator, and adoptee. He is the recipient of the 2022 Academy of American Poets Prize and the 2020 William Matthews Poetry Prize. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Asheville Poetry Review, Best New Poets, The Common, PANK, Washington Square Review, and others. He has received support from Tin House and Kundiman and is currently pursuing an MFA and a Film Certificate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

cover of adroit journal issue 40

Issue 40

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Peter LaBerge

Managing Editor
Garrett Biggs

Executive Editor
Heidi Seaborn

Poetry Editors
Emily Cinquemani
Kate Gaskin
Lisa Hiton
Wayne Johns
Talin Tahajian

The Adroit Journal was founded in November 2010 by poet Peter LaBerge. At its foundation, the journal has its eyes focused ahead, seeking to showcase what its global staff of emerging writers sees as the future of poetry, prose, and art.

Recently featured in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prizes: Best of the Small Presses, Poetry Daily, Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Verse Daily, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Teen Vogue, and NPR, the journal has featured the voices of Terrance Hayes, Franny Choi, D. A. Powell, Alex Dimitrov, Lydia Millet, NoViolet Bulawayo, Ocean Vuong, Ned Vizzini, Fatimah Asghar, Danez Smith, and beyond.

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