Translated from Korean by Jake Levine

 

Sweep Up A Flock

 

Like the sound of washing thighs in cold water, a flock
of birds takes flight.

A ridge hangs on the thighs of a flock of birds.
Wild roses bloom on the thighs of a flock of birds.

Until the birds pass through my body

the smell of flesh will pour from clouds.
But even that, I believe, is the work of passing birds.

The clouds float down and sip the water in the valley.

I sweep up a flock of fallen birds.

 

 

 

Reindeer on My Upper Lip

 

Reindeer walk around my upper lip and
with my tongue, I lick the ice on their feet while they walk.

Licking the watery tracks that someone left,
walking backwards in the ice.

Reindeer graze on my upper lip, nibbling
the cold roots of a tree and the blue leaves
that bud out the horns
of a reindeer calf that froze to death.

Once upon a time, a baleen whale
breached upon my upper lip.
When my ears got hot the ice began to melt
and the reindeer carefully licked the flapping whale.
Underneath the leaves that stack my upper lip
the reindeer do not share their love.

They sit on my upper lip and,
until my tongue is frozen to the horizon,
the reindeer will sorrowfully mumble to themselves.

I was born on the fins of eyes.
Dragged into a snowy country, I became
the soft petroglyphs left by a pessimist.
Appearing on the ice on my eyelashes
that I lower one at a time
is the road back to my home.

Because they form a line, reindeer lose the road and
because they stand beneath the ice, the reindeer fall asleep.
If it is spring, they become warm ice on my lips, they become
my lips that flow beneath the thin ice.

At the edge of the cliff on my lips
reindeer are dangerous.

 

 

 

Moron

 

When a stray dog is a moron
it dances.

Atop the sea
an empty phone booth
set adrift.

Floating off a cliff
the climber opens
a map on their chest.
Tossed out after the gorge, blown off
repelling

canyons flying away

are swollen on the faces of stones.
Quietly,
a pencil is sharpened.
The eraser gets shaved.

The sunlight stands up, half-asleep,
and sleeps beneath your feet.

Painted with ink, the white
heavy rain.

 

 

Artwork © 少校史默奇 / Tu Hao Chin

700 Miles
On Jesus’ Son