by Ashley Park (United States)
Audio: "Han," read by Gabrielle Lieberman-Miller
My name was given to me by my parents,
and it was my father’s name
before it was mine.
From the 200 billion trillion stars in the galaxy,
my father gripped one,
eons of molten heat searing his worldly flesh
until it bubbled and dripped like candle wax,
and wrenched it from the sky
like God taking slumbering Adam's rib
and giving life to Eve.
Did Adam awake and feel its absence,
a gap in his structure,
like the heavens mourned its one stolen star?
All this for one wretched girl.
My name is Han-Byul,
and it was given to me by my parents,
my father’s name before it was mine.
I’m sure the galaxy won’t mind its disappearance.
Han, on its own, coincidentally also means
“an internalized feeling of deep sorrow, resentment, grief, regret and anger, which is felt by all Koreans.”
Do Americans not feel it, then?
In folklore, han kept spirits from reaching the afterlife.
The seething heat
of vengeance and hatred
held too close to the heart for them to move on.
Forced to wander the earth
dragging that boiling red alongside.
Han was also the sorrow my ancestors felt
when foreigners devoured their land,
Forced themselves upon their women.
Han was the aggregated pool of suffering,
and children begging,
stars stolen from their galaxies.
Forced upon my people.
Han was their unwanted name.
because han was also identity my people found in grieving.
Han also means one.
One sorrow, one agony, one grief.
Hanbyul, one star.
Hanbyul Park, 16, is Korean American and lives in Louisville, Kentucky. She has a cat and loves watching movies.
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12/3/22, 12:37 AM
11/19/22, 9:15 AM
This is a masterpiece.... Well done
10/12/22, 2:00 AM
An amazing piece on climate change. Congratulations!
10/12/22, 1:58 AM
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I love this! Could read this over and over again.
10/12/22, 1:56 AM
Such a beautiful piece Lyat. Congratulations!
10/12/22, 1:54 AM
From your piece, you're an inspiration and a driven person who wants to make the world better. I hope you get to achieve all these and I hope you receive all the support.
10/12/22, 1:48 AM
Brilliant and educative in all aspects!
10/12/22, 1:43 AM
Everything about this piece has perfectly collided with the perfect words. Teen years are special and form a concrete part of a person's life. Glad I read this now. It's a beautiful piece.
9/29/22, 4:40 PM
9/24/22, 2:13 PM
Was this inspired by flights over Iceland?
9/24/22, 10:04 AM
Amazing. I love it.
9/23/22, 7:34 AM
This is just so good!!!! "The air has been poisoned' I love how you describe things! Congrats :))