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  • Room with a View of Seopseom, and: I Wasn’t Yet Born, and: A Deer, and: Sacrament on the Road, and: Between “No Sighting” and “Sighting”, and: Banksias, and: Where the Cornfield Used to Be

room with a view of seopseom

  in JoongSub Lee’s room

Renting a small granary room in the corner of a straw-thatched house on the hill of Seo-gui-po Agori and Balgarak-gun lived and raised their children in a coffin-like room only big enough for two people to lie down they lived on crabs and clams annoyed by gritty grains of sand the children tracked in from the shore but each night gently hugging the family as its flesh the room closed around them like a clamshell Agori painted crabs to apologize for boiling them Balgarak-gun set the table with empty conch shells for bowls they embraced in the room of pumice the room so narrow they could own only a ladder to the heavens in dreams or pictures the children flew on birds peaches looked lovely as celestial fruit even the sound of gunfire couldn’t follow them there standing in the yard with the view of Seopseom they had many dazzling days of sorrowful sun etched on foil were sky and sea crabs and fish playing with their children against the setting sun crabs pinched their children’s penises the children pinched the tails of fish fish flopped in Agori’s hands on the shore even that happiness couldn’t last but Agori and Balgarak-gun lived unaware of that like hermit crabs living in an empty shell [End Page 36]

i wasn’t yet born

  at the edge of the Ganges

I climbed the mountain crossed the river and was lost I swallowed some food gave birth sighed wrote poems waited for a bus all this happened in the amniotic fluid the bus would take me far but raindrops on the windows made me wet all water was amniotic fluid I wasn’t yet born

People washing bodies in the womb people burning the dead in the womb dogs skulking around those wearing white

Without enough money to buy firewood a corpse was left half-burned and became the dogs’ share or bobbed around tied to a piece of wood sinking floating it flowed into the deeper river the self the sun rose above the rim illuminating the womb with crimson, but ships couldn’t manage to sail beyond the edge and return land routes were snipped off like umbilical cords and the amniotic fluid turned blood red nobody was born smoke from burning corpses filled the womb [End Page 37]

a deer

My mind drives me to secluded places I often get lost in the mountains often while driving my hands turn into antlers and hard hooves form on my feet without my noticing what is shattering beneath the hooves one night I made a sudden stop on the road in front of my eyes a petrified animal the expression in his eyes no different from mine we were lost stunned by the headlights the young buck fell and struggled to rise he might be the twenty-year-old me I left behind on the mountain he might be the one who unexpectedly disappeared or he might be the newborn love I one day irresponsibly abandoned I turned the headlights off and shouted into the darkness Don’t be afraid even with two antlers and four hooves you can’t outrun your luck! Stand up and get across the road! Disappear into those extravagant wild onions and grapevines lest you be seen . . . [End Page 38]

sacrament on the road

Wheels carelessly tread upon the cat squashed by previous wheels.

Scattered gobbets of flesh and blood slowly begin to seep into the road. Like sharing the sacrament wheels share blood and flesh.

The emperor of the night offers his final glass of wine then wheels drink it up with eyes scaled. They randomly shred devour leave his rigid flesh.

Now the wheels have no dread. Evangelizing blood and flesh the emperor left, the wheels roll and...


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pp. 36-42
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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