Yunkyo Moon-Kim



Dampness recovers memory. Once,
my father hurled a chair across the room
but instead of it crashing, it crossed the threshold
and started fleeing from the house. Like a dog
I went to chase it, the piece of wood flanked
by rage and its own splinters. My sprint
left contrails of spit and fur in its wake. Inside my maw
it turned into a mutant of industry: A tree.
Once again I tried to catch something brutal and,
make anything beautiful out of it. Which,
too, is an attempt at beauty. Do you remember?
It was too many years ago. With my fangs
I carved the tree into a blade even sharper than steel.
I sundered the pit from the flesh. Then, once I was done,
I hid the knife away inside a shoebox. For years, it rattled
inside my hide. For years, it slashed and slashed.


Girl paused, turned at a split tongue beginning some parallel
to bisect a country. From behind her, the bodies of her charred siblings
barreled and passed, paving the trail ahead
with kin flesh. Korea is an oxymoron, for when
has a halving so visible been so indivisible. There is a line inside this body.
There is no modern nation without America passing through it. Grandmother,
the spring in Baekdu Mountain must still be beautiful —
even the turn of the seasons will mar it.
Like you, the musk deer and the black bear do not know
some spit-up border but their own prophetic
queer orbits of forage, despite
the pollutants and subterfuges. Even the reincarnations.

Biographical Statement:

Yunkyo Moon-Kim is a Korean post-apocalyptic poet and a community worker in Chicago. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, Cosmonauts Avenue, Porkbelly Press, and more.