After All the Birds Have Gone

Kim Hyesoon
Translated from the Korean by Cindy Juyoung Ok

Tough after allwe who still remainjust by gathering it is lovinglyeven while building each other’s tombseven while patting each other’s backsWhen each one turns aroundboth arms tight! Openingacross and embracing whatI do not even recognize as my graveI hug and hold harder and harderlay the sleeping mat and lay the blanket, stretching four limbs outI love you I love you even in my sleepIn this world from which crying birds disappearonly I am left 새들이 모두 가버린 다음그래도 질긴우리는 남아서모이기만 하면 서로 사랑스레무덤도 지어주면서등도 두드려주면서그러나 저마다 돌아서면양팔을 힘껏! 벌려품에 품고는제 무덤인 줄도 모르고더 힘껏 더 힘껏 부둥켜안고는요 깔고 이불 깔고 사지를 좌악 벌려사랑한다 사랑한다 잠꼬대까지 하면서울던 새들이 사라진 이 세상에나만 남아서

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Kim Hyesoon has published thirteen poetry collections and received the Kim Soo-young, Midang, and Lee Hyoung-Gi literary awards in Korea. Her books have been translated into several languages, and her most recent English publication, Autobiography of Death (trans. Don Mee Choi, New Directions, 2018), won the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Cindy Juyoung Ok has published translations from Kim Hyesoon’s The Hell of That Star in journals including Asymptote, The Margins, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. A MacDowell Fellow, she teaches creative writing at the University of California and edits poetry for Guernica magazine.

April 2022

Taipei City

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Lee Yew Leong

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