• By Brandon Yi (he/him)
  • Art “Untitled” by Frances Isler (they/them)

Sunday afternoon occupied the most unoccupied hours for Sejong Bookstore. By 12:00PM, the shop became a lonely, empty space. If it weren’t for myself and grandma, the only hints of life were found in the the shopkeeper’s breath, heaving another drag from his darling Marlboro Reds, and the store’s dingy, mustard carpet—THERE LAY the traces of the routine 11:00AM Sunday stampede, led by the Christian elderly. But, despite this lack of company, Sejong’s was never a boring, unfortunate place.

The fluorescent light’s yellow buzz echoed a choir of bees journeying a sunflower field, muting the awkward silence. The shop’s yellow temperature playfully blended with the green walls, littered with posters patterning a strange cadence:

Jesus Christ on the cross,
                          The Giving Tree,
                                                 The Great Gatsby,
                                                                      Korean comic about a sentient penguin,
I followed this rhythm until the posters had brought me to
abrupt halt.
The green had stopped.      Adjacent
to the green was a room a harsh, forbidding red.
But my g l a n c e’s shutter captured undressed bodies,
the only shame they bore being the adorning red light
that solely dressed their silhouettes.
It was a secret
more fragile than the
BEADED CURTAINS, separating myself from the      red.
A secret I could not hide
from grandma’s wrinkly hands dragging me away,
from poster Jesus,
from the bee’s yellow choir,
from Mr. Sejong’s hazy gaze, his darling Marlboro reds. ▲