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  • Six Poems from Kim So Yeon's Mathematician's Morning (2013)
  • Kim So Yeon (bio)
    Translated by Chung Eun-Gwi (bio)

"Really Really Nice"

Suddenly I sang a song loudlyLike an old car running out of fuel.

You continued the next line loudlyOur stride must have looked like marching.

When two sing the same songtheir mouths get the same shape,at the same timeat the same street.

Or turning the corner,they can say the same thing at the same time"Wow, it's a full moon!"stuff like that.

They share the same deception thattheir dream will not be refractedeven if they turn the corner. [End Page 147] Or you can put gloves ona snowman sweating excessivelylike you put a flower in an armored vehicle.

Streetlights are outOur shadows fade away.After we turn that corner, let's be ghosts.Like a lizard crawls with a flower in its mouthout of a garbage can leaning against the wall.

We promise to believe only in hidden things,like a corpse kept behind the stageWe become each other's back.It was really really nice. [End Page 148]

A Battlefield

From the knees of lovers who went through every possible fight drifts an indefinable fishy smell, the smell of a beast no one should know about. About to say I'm scared, she ends up saying I'm fine. When they mix up rice together, crashing spoons, their days of the past are mixed in red. Each other's future sharply shines at each other's nape like a spearhead. About to say it's perilous, she ends up saying it's precious. When one becomes shabby to the other, the two sluggishly change their bodies and pass the heavy afternoon. In the eyes of lovers who shared every possible confession, indefinable affliction is inscribed one by one. Reflecting the affliction that nobody should know about as fascination, each other's eyes are suffering, or scenery. About to say, you're becoming my one and only nightmare, she instead rises to do the dishes. A sperm whale floats out of the tap water. Dipping their fingertips in the deep sea, she thinks about red blood confined to blue veins, thinks about being dissolved and being dyed. The evening gets splattered. In the room of the lovers who completed every possible love, unknown plants grow to touch the ceiling, giving off an indefinable murky fragrance. From the enormous fruits nobody should know about, pus-like juice drips down. About to say Oh my God, she ends up saying Lovely. [End Page 149]


A scary beast is walking. A scary forest hiding a scary beast is        walking. Shrieks of scary birds concealing the roars of a scaryforest are spreading.

From there, the sun sluggishly is rising up.Needle-leaves lose the chill air and grow pointier.

How will the screams grow sharper?Right before the round bubble burst, I heard a scream.I wish this scream could eat into the city.

Words that were so overused walk toward failure.It seems the time to shut up has already passed.

Over the forest's scars, toes grow like mushrooms. Somewhat  similarly to the screams. The sun arrives before the moon  disappears. As if they must stick together while it is still possible  to do that.

The tree walks on its roots and stands in front of me.

It's scarier than a scary beast.Scary things always use their feet first. Feet are scary.Feet know only of fatigue and can never be discouraged. [End Page 150]

If the Future Spills Down

I want to become a faraway place.

Like a child with one ear pressed to the railway tracklistening to the sound of a faraway place.

What should I do to become a place farther away?In my dream I could become even a child.I could dream a nightmare.

Becoming a child whose body keeps shaking like a compass needleI get afraid I may have done something wrong.Becoming a child whose body keeps fluttering like a flag...


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pp. 147-156
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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