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  • Five Poems from A Glass of Red Mirror (2004)
  • Kim Hyesoon (bio)
    Translated by Don Mee Choi (bio)


You who fly deep into the night skyI detect your heat while I sleepA cruise missile launched!The heat of explosion far above the sky!Soon the water in a pot boilsI can't sleep, so I might as well have a cup of coffeeI almost dip my hand into the boiling waterfor the boiling water looks so coldInstead I dip my head inside the pot and say somethingAre thousands of layers of ear membranes boiling?Or are they a metaphor for birth and death?Thousands of Morse codes undulate in the evaporating boiling      waterIt is like Mass at a cathedralThe condor shoots up high against the harsh air streamsslowly circles, then rapidly descendsand with its distant gaze looks down at the boiling waterMaybe someone has hidden a helicopter in the forestFrom faraway the sound of the trees boiling [End Page 97] The thousands of red soldiers on the front lines pinned to the body's      interiorbegin to emit electricity to the inside, insidethis is not just a feeling but an ultrasonic, a hydro-currentmy inside can get electrocuted when I place my hand in itthis time I begin to boil like an electric potthis isn't love but an electricity detector, a missileHear a boiling sound from the earSwish, swish, I escape from my bodyAll the water evaporates [End Page 98]

Two Pages of Tongue

You may be able to swallow the entire worldbut you can never swallow thisthe most delicious thingmy tongue

Tonight our two pages of tongueface each other in the dark

The black moon inside meMy tongue bloated like a balloonThe moon was in the middle of an eclipseThe owls that only open their eyes at nightinside the black moon cried

We set out wine and each of ustyped away at all kinds of words in the airbut in reality our monitors didn't save any wordsOur monitors were facing one another

With my long tongue I will suck your breast-milk dryand lick your brain

All night the two pages of tonguewhimpered like deathWithout bodieswe stuck out our tongues [End Page 99]

Spring Rain

I missed my stop from thinking of youRain fell as I pressed the bell stop, Please let me offPeople in the street walked slantwiseTheir screams as I jumped into the rainThe birds that talk inside the throats of the people running peeked out Each of them shouted, I don't want to live inside someone elseA man followed a woman and a woman followed a woman anda woman ran, following the previous manMr. who got off the same bus behind me followed, calling me, Sis, SisThe handkerchief in front of his chest flapped like a flower with a      broken stemThe sky with a damaged immune system coughed awayDark spots below the thighs were spreadingAll the clock hands attached to the rooftops slanted to the rightA previously frozen lump of clay began to meltUgly faces fell and splashed down onto the ground and rolled aboutThe birds that live inside other people's bodies flew up all togetherThey spat as they kept shoutingMy head that used to think about you spreads to the rest of the street [End Page 100]

A Hundred-Year-Old Fox

I came to find a peach in this lifeI came to find the red stain, the stain from the biteof the peach you spat out as you departedThey say you are sick in the world of ghostsbut I am in the frozen mountain valley of a snowy nightI think I must have flowed down the field of snowWhere am I?They say when you circle the entire field, red babybecomes white grandma and white grandma becomes red babyPeach blossom flurries, flurries of snowfall and keep falling againand...