Shin Yu Pai

Search & Recovery
for James Kim (1971 – 2006)


it could have
happened to any
of us

a wrong turn
down a logging road
tires tunneled
into snow

a man’s undying
love for his children

moves satellites
maps aerial images

eighteen care packages
dropped over sixteen
miles of the Siskiyou,

bearing handwritten
notes from a father
to his son

the signs
you left for those
who came after you

a red t-shirt
a wool sock,
a child’s blue skirt

layers of a life,
stripped down to
a family’s fate –

the weight of being
unseen – to travel
a path back to

what you knew
at birth, the warmth
of being held close

brought home

 

“Search & Recovery” originally appeared in Adamantine (White Pine, 2010).

Shin Yu Pai is the author of Hybrid Land (Filter Press), Adamantine (White Pine), Haiku Not Bombs (Booklyn), Works on Paper (Convivio Bookworks), Sightings: Selected Works (1913 Press), The Love Hotel Poems (Press Lorentz), Unnecessary Roughness (xPress(ed)), Equivalence (La Alameda), and Ten Thousand Miles of Mountains and Rivers (Third Ear Books). She is the former poet-in-residence for the Seattle Art Museum and has been the recipient of individual artist and heritage awards from 4Culture, as well as a SmArt Ventures grant from the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. She is recently returned to Seattle.

 

 


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