Maija Rhee Devine
The epilogue--"A Hemp Robe and Juniper"--of the novel, The Voices of Heaven by Maija Rhee Devine

The epilogue–”A Hemp Robe and Juniper”–of the novel, The Voices of Heaven, is the culmination of the tension built around the daughter character, Mi-na.  The story told in the epilogue was shaped into a piece of creative nonfiction, titled “The Return of a Native in a Hemp Robe.”

Below are pictures of my family.

 

WarphotoSangho

My sister and I

 

MaijaAndMomCR

My mother and I

 

Soonback

My brother

  • Published in a Korean literary journal Wilderness, Winter, 2011

     

    My Brother’s Computer

     

    Maija Rhee Devine

    -- Originally written in Korean, translated into English by author

     

    My brother is 75 years old.

     

    At fifteen, recruited by Korean Navy

    To do a job like Radar’s in M*A*S*H

    He rode in U.S. Patrol Craft 703

    Ready to kill, in a wing of 260-battle-ship fleet

    Commanded by General Douglas MacArthur.

    One September night,1950, Korean Navy blooded

    N. Korean communists on Youngheung Island

    Planted Korean flag atop the hill

    He sped away for his night shift in PC703

    Only to learn at dawn

    The fourteen war buddies he left behind

    Were bullet-riddled to unidentifiable bodies

    By enemy troops who sneaked

    across the tide-drained strait.

     

    I’ve sinned

    I’ve sinned by staying alive

    What can I do to cleanse this sin?

    What can I do with my life

  • To make it worth fourteen lives?

    Shriveled under that weight

    He mourned each day for six decades

     

    As shrunken is his computer

    Out its phlegm-congested throat come mysterious groans

    The battery has already given up its ghost

    Why don’t I get you a new oney? I offer during my visit to Seoul.

    Oh, no, no. My daughter-in-law’s getting

    A new computer. Her old one will be my new one,

    He says.

    Until the “new” one arrives, he goes through these steps.

    He turns the surge protector, which he turns off each night.

    Presses the “on” button.

    Then the “F 1”

    “F 10”

    “Enter”

    “Esc”

    The Windows screen blinks through its many phases

    When it’s done, he presses “Begin,” “Program,” “Internet.”

    If the “Internet” doesn’t surface

    He enters the time, date, and year.

    Then clicks “Apply” and “Confirm”

     

    Ahhh! The internet’s up!

     

    At his age, I’m lucky he knows what a computer is.

    And here comes his E-mail message

  • Limping, coughing, and wheezing across the Pacific Ocean

    Lands on my morning tea in Missouri

    Hot, heart-shaped.

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