Icicle Glasses

Kim Hyesoon

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Day thirty-nine

 

The thing that death gave you —

your face leaks

your face overflows

 

Your face is the grave of your nose

your face is the grave of your ears

your face is the grave of your face

once again your face overflows uncontrollably

 

The subzero temperature grows on your face then dies

(You were underground from the moment you were born)

 

The air that sticks to your eyes is as cold as the knife blade

the wind that sticks to your heart is as hot as the palm of a hand

 

You want to shout that you miss me

but there is another ground beneath the ground

 

You wish to sing solo but you are stuck in the chorus

In this world there is no ear that can make out your voice

 

Love sickness, the chronic illness of the ghosts!

Love sickness appears daily like the first dawn!

 

You hang your eyeballs to the ground and plead

You beg to be let in

To have your face overlap with my face

That my tongue is your tongue

That you shed my tears

 

Water streams out

You hallucinate

You go mad

Kim Hyesoon, “Icicle Glasses” from Autobiography of Death. English translation copyright © 2018 by Don Mee Choi. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018)