from Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream

Kim Hyesoon

The Way Mommy Bear Eats a Swarm of Fire Ants

that my body grows uncontrollably large
that every time a wound appears I cut up a small piece of cloth to cover it
cut up and cover, cover again then
find myself covered with a quilt blanket over my head
my mommy told me never get under a quilt blanket
never learn to quilt
she told me as I patch and patch I'll never get out of poverty
that I'm now walking like a bundled up garbage quilt
that at one point you used to eat me bite me control me
use me but now I've become a quiet
thing like a bundle of garbage
that I smell like a homeless person who has become one with a pull cart
that when kicked lightly by front paws, I'm like a deer, roe deer
that I'm so huge to the point of dying
that there is only me on the freeway scorched by sun
that there are only things that run away when they see me
like the enormous gray bear that sleeps while it walks
like the enormous black lace cloud fluttering above eyelids
like the dump truck leaking dribbles of oil in the middle of a desert
like the house with rotten stairs and six feet of dust collected in the ceiling
that there is no one except me standing all alone
that I'm getting larger and larger
as I'm chased, chased off the road
that I'm filled with all the screams of the world
that there is nothing else but that

Cloud's Nostalgia

Rabbit's ear entered as the white wall laughed
I pulled that smelly thing
Rabbit-cloud mushroomed-mushroomed

Buttocks-cloud came down from the ceiling
Those buttocks belong to the wrestler at our neighborhood gym

A rope for strangling came down, but it dispersed as soon as it hanged a neck
The walls floated in air and barked
The door to the room opened, where the angels were tortured and had cried
My screams poured out like shit, so I opened an umbrella to receive them

A thousand nipples protruded from my body
Every nipple needed to be milked white milk
My body overflowing with milk was swollen like a jar
The jar smelled of white rabbit

Those plastic things, paper, cloths
I sang about the memories of my attachment to those things in my room

When I sang, all the sweat pores on my body salivated
my black fur got wet

I pulled the mask tightly like a shoestring
and waddled-waddled out like a wrestler

Now it's time to confess, my lover is that cloud
Water falls from its face every time its expression changes hundreds of times a day

Shall I call it The morning nap of someone who has left?
(I almost said A dirty sight, for I'm unable to forget it)
Shall I say It's a flustered rabbit because its hutch has vanished?
Shall I say My melancholy's nostalgia?
or Your facial expressions fall off every second and get buried in the ground?

White-hair-cloud encircles god's neck
Hook-cloud hooks my neck's artery onto a cloud
Lens-cloud opens the lid of my house and peers into it

Over there, the boys from martial arts gym run into the sunset with red-red briefs
over their heads and

I pull threads from the crimson cloud and weave my undergarments and
twist my fat fattened body

My Free Market

No one's asking to buy
but I lay out a mat to sell things
A few flabby keys for silence
that look like birds' tongues
A few bell sounds that get mashed when clutched
A few pages of landscape paintings that quietly melt when your eyes open
Gold, liver, pages of faces, hordes of vagueness
that can be buried in the coffin made from songs

Churches that raise the voltage of insanity!
Blessed red shops of the night trembling!

And me! I just lay out a mat and sell flabby keys
in front of a snoring white rabbit

Right now I'm in the middle of worshipping a pianist
who is dressed like an undertaker
I also worship the cleats of his black shoes
When stars fall out from his open arms
and caress the wheels of my mat
I even worship his bald head
When he replies to the encore of an encore by playing a nocturne
I prostrate myself under his feet and devour the commas

However, didn't our Father of the Iron Age, like a fish, have an external fertilization
with a young virgin? Then are we to believe in fish and believe in the son of fish?
Shall I tie a ribbon to the fish on the cutting board?

Would you like to buy a flower pin for fastening the ribbon onto your heart?
I have fish that spill clear roe when squeezed
Of course, I even have stars you can wear on your arms

Tack pins fall out from my coughs
On the cutting board, fingers promptly wrap around the knife blade

Two black butterflies used as a blanket for the eyes
that lets you peek into blackness over there

On top of my bloated mat as if it's been pulled from a flood
I also have replica lips with burns from all the questions

A bottle of dark wine when uncorked
pours out doubts you detest hearing

Robbed of its skin and mocked by bones
an animal that's left only with its internal organs

A hoarse-throated-scream-basket
A pair of fish-bone-shoes you can slip onto bare feet

What would you like to buy?

translated from the Korean by Choi Don Mee