Purple Lanterns

By Zach Winters, ETA ’17-’18

“Kenny,” Sonnet II

How ‘funny’ that I come here now that you
Are gone—or is it ‘fun’? I can’t be sure,
But every time I think about the few
Short years we had I end up wanting more—
How ‘fitting’ that I come where you’d have found
Your half—or were you ‘one’? I couldn’t tell—
I’d never thought of you as ‘한’1, but now
I wish I’d known to ask you how you felt—
I’ll never see green eyes begin to fade
And never force green ‘무궁화’2 to be
An echo of the home you might’ve made,
A familiar place you never got to see—
      But as I walk this ‘home’ you never knew,
      You’re in my heart, and so you walk here too—

&quotLanterns&quot, Melissa Kukowski, Jinju

Zach Winters is a 2017-2018 ETA at Jeju Jungang Girls’ High School in Jeju city, Jeju-do.


  1. Han, “one;” a syllable found in other Korean words, such as those for the Korean country and writing system; a word for a mixture of sorrow, regret, and resentment that has no English equivalent
  2. Mugunghwa, “immortal flower;” the Korean word for the Hibiscus syriacus, the national flower of Korea