Subtraction

Suphil Lee Park

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.

Feature Date

Series

Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print
Photo of Suphil Lee Park

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/

Graphic for Quarterly West Issue 101

Issue 101

Salt Lake City, Utah

University of Utah

Editor
Matty Layne Glasgow

Managing Editor
Jess Tanck

Assistant Editor
Jasmine Khaliq

Poetry Editor
Samyak Shertok
Lindsey Webb

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.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.