This is my temporary mind.Stated thoughts, black roses.(I often write you out, then into my mind.)To verify this I have pictureshung upside down: your lipsa flat line in conflict, clothesline pulled taut by lightness.I write from this mind.You taught me mathin color: “Red + Blue=Purple.”Imagination is an intraocular organ.Nightan intrinsic factor in the sun that converges to light.A secret, an unstated fact.An equation of vacuum lies between 59 and 60, 11.8 and 12, nightand midnight.I write you, for you arenot my secret.Instead I wear youlike spectacles, refuse to blink.Math in image: “Rain + Sun=Rainbow.”To which I asked, “Sun=Bow?”You answered, “Sun=Rain(Bow-1).”This is my mind, analogous to a hatthat swallows my face but declines the namemask. Emptied, it lies flatlike a bag. Unmaskyourself.Mind, name. What is sharedcannot be secret.In my mother tongue I say our mother, to any of you I’ve never met.Our home, which I alone occupy.If We=You + I, but We=I,you is 0, pure as it disappears.Imagine: black rosescurled up in the lifeform of their deaths.If the eye is the destination— from the mind—night diverges, becomes light, vice versa.No space is empty, unless emptied.I want this space between roses and the windto close. In time.Imagine: the sun arching to its limit,a blister of light to share.The arrow, gone.
“Subtraction” from PRESENT TENSE COMPLEX: by Suphil Lee Park.
Published by Conduit Books March 31st, 2021.
Copyright © 2021 by Suphil Lee Park.
First published in Issue 101 of Quarterly West.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Suphil Lee Park is the author of the poetry collection, Present Tense Complex, winner of the 2020 Marystina Santiestevan Prize, and is the winner of the 2021 Indiana Review Fiction Prize. She spent 9/14 of her life all over the Korean peninsula before landing in the American Northeast. Her name 수필 리 박 (秀筆 李 朴) consists of Chinese characters, each of which means “outstanding,” “writing brush,” “plum tree,” and “silver magnolia.” She graduated from New York University with a BA in English and from the University of Texas at Austin with an MFA in Poetry. Her poems and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, Writer’s Digest, and Verse Daily, among many others. You can find more about her at: https://suphil-lee-park.com/
Quarterly West is the online literary journal run and staffed by PhD creative writing students at the University of Utah. QW was founded by James Thomas in 1976.