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the place of fallen flowers

Plucking an apple, I smell its scent still present in the calyx where it was once a flower. Where the flower blossomed, I still hear the sound of a bee that had landed and wept. I feel sorry for my wife. My wife seems not to remember the calyx of the flower that once blossomed. A few calyces remain, their husks are the recessed navels of apples, like a scar; time more sorrowful than fallen flowers has passed. How the flowers must have admired themselves! The fragrance of a boyish red apple released from a bite mark. My dear Hae-sook, wasn’t that small pink flower the apple’s mother? And wasn’t that infant flower also the tree’s child? [End Page 59]

my dionysus

It’s certain I can never drink to my heart’s content anymore. The stomach rumbles, waste comes flowing out, and from now on I cannot eat as I would like to either. If you make too much fuss, you cannot swagger into the house in a dark, cool alley where the drunkard god sleeps happily. Now even the gaudy flowers in your stomach have resolved to moderate love and intemperance. Look up at the unchanging moon in the clouds above your head as you walk toward distant Hwagok Village. Well, I thought so! The cough-like laughter disappearing, friends who used to be so cheerful, such fun though drinking and drinking, drinking till the first bus at dawn. I see old Dionysus by the sea in ancient days. The misty sun rises on low harbor buildings, and the place I yearn for now is the past, not the future.

my momentary toy

Do not call me by a name. Do not try to constrain me inside your name for me. If you have your own path, please go your own way. Do not try to take me with you. We have been calling each other by name for far too long. I want to shout my name into the void. It is not altogether clear yet but it seems you might need some oblivion, too. It’s as if I want to be free of desire. Even though I came as a cloud, as wind, as another morning’s flowers rather than some promise of daybreak, now we must go back and examine the time before we met. These words, too, should be discarded, but I want the present to be the presence of a distant past. Do not try to show me everything. It’s alright now for you not to do so. Let me be myself alone. Let me bask silently in the sunshine at the foot of a wall. I am speaking to you with words far too ancient at a bus stop in the west of the city at sunset. [End Page 60]

my first light

The electrician connects a small insulator, holds it against the fragile rafter, pushes in a screw, and turns a screwdriver. Psik! the sound dropped onto my face as white sawdust fell. That sawdust tells the story of my family home in a remote corner of northern Gangwon Province, by the sea. A place where sparrows used to live, breed, sleep, and summon the morning. A place where maggots thrived. One dark evening, with the spring equinox far off, the red and white wires on the insulator were connected, leading to the kitchen. I flipped a black switch dangling in the air. Click! like a flash going off light poured out! I have still not forgotten that day, when my parents and I excitedly clapped our hands. Whenever light suddenly flashes into my eyes, I recall that small naked bulb in a remote village, a dazzling light and a dangling switch, then a dimnessthe sight that dulled my hearing.

a letter sent to nae-rin stream

The evening sky above Inje County is the most serene...


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pp. 59-62
Launched on MUSE
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