Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Sean Cho A.






Bad Patriot Poem 

sun bears are the smallest bear species 
the 2nd smallest bear species is
not the moon bear although they are 
relatively small when compared 
to other bears such as polar bears 
if left alone most dog breeds would 
die off and the ones remaining would
adapt through natural selection 
to survive in the wild like wolves 
the new variety of poodle will be 
smaller but also have warmer legs 
because humans will be gone 
and their fur will not be shaved 
for aesthetic reasons 

this morning i woke up in iowa city 
in seoul my brothers who i may 
or may not have are getting ready 
for bed no one here looks like 
me everyone looks at me hi 
hello i say i’m trying my best 
to be american no one here thinks 
i can be an american 



Narrative Studies #3

The river eats the light. The light catches the moths. I meant vanish. I meanted 
the opposite of vanish. There are limitations to words. Limitations to the knowledge of. 
See: the end of every argument. This is why we turn down the television’s volume when
our favorite characters are at the part of the story where they just haven’t quite realized 
that they are still in love. I want to make a list of every word I know and test the limitations
of algorithms. I want to string the words together and hear the applause after my orchestra. 
we use metaphors to compare something we don’t understand with something we know. 
like at the investment seminar the man displays the wealth gap using piles of rice. We are here, 
to his left: small pile, with enough to feed us, maybe save up to trade for a nice car every 
decade or two. But as we go right, the piles get bigger and bigger until we see the man 
again standing on top of the tallest pile. He says I was once over there too. pause. I was once 
you! But you can join me too! and now this is the part of the story where we realize that we 
are living in the warnings. That investment meant sales pitch. That Time shares is in the fine 
print. When the words are done dancing across the page that they can not/will not
return unchanged. But the man is well dressed. The man speaks well. Well the winters 
are cold here. The white sand between our feet. Blue drinks in hand as the sun 
glimmers against our glasses. Ignoring the way the sun has aged all our faces. 
At the end of logic this is where we will be.



an ode/elegy that starts out being about my dog then my grandma but really was about me the whole time 

i am thankful for that every letter has a sound. for congregation. 
for gathering. and. agreed understanding. when i say my dog died 
you think of your dog. a the limits of time.  how he /she died  
too. and. we share our individual same-sadness.  in my arms. after 
one year of cancer.  (oh no my voice is cracking.) 

i want to know what happens after a language fails.


i wish he was my best friend wasn’t such a cliche. and. but really. had more meaning. 

that i was younger and could believe in “the farm up north”. and. that 
my mother did not have to feel so sad when she saw me cry. and wiping 
the tears off Taffy’s stiffening body. 


My grandmother died that same fall.
My mother, her caretaker, for the last decade. 


Overtime the legs stopped working. then arms. overtime 
is slow. like how the leaves do not fall all at once. that would be absurd.
like. a what is this hospital bed doing in the living room. 


we tie up the end for comfort. laces in shoes. or. dog heaven. 
the way we gather the words to remind us of joy. like how, once 
my grandmother could no longer speak, mom translated a dictionary 
of sounds. one for I love you & another for Thank you.  


it was early october. or i can’t really remember. 
mom walked into grandma’s room and said something about heaven
something about being in a better place. something about losing 
a mother. and 

losing a friend too. 

she cried. and. i cried watching her cry. 


one day I will be my mother.




Author photo courtesy of author

Sean Cho A. is the author of “American Home" (Autumn House 2021) winner of the Autumn House Press chapbook contest. His work can be future found or ignored in Copper Nickel, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Nashville Review, among others. Sean is a graduate of the MFA program at The University of California Irvine and a PhD Student at the University of Cincinnati. He is the Editor in Chief of The Account. More from this author →