“Outside the National Cemetery”

by Han-Jae Lee


White magnolias brightly bloom
in the isolated places outside the national cemetery.

The white gravestones lined up in the cemetery
welcome the magnolias that come each year in April.

Wearing their white uniforms, the magnolias are like officers in the navy
receiving an inspection from their admiral.

The captivated white petals console the souls in the cemetery.
The souls of those who laid down their lives for their nation.

The souls beneath the gravestones have eagerly waited a long time
for their friends and relatives.

The magnolias ghostwrite the letters for the souls in their petals
and send them on the breeze to those who live in remote parts of the country.

On windy days, they sing the song of April and dance with the branches
scattering the petals on the graves.

In the night sky interspersed with stars
the souls and petals are dreaming a dream together.