Kim Hyesoon

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Kim Hyesoon

Witch Ascension

Translated from the Korean by Cindy Juyoung Ok

If I open the window there, the morning sky must be unfolded
If I go a bit further from there might I see the sea

There is dirt under the window and the grass beetles will lounge
and there on the grass I might be
Should I stay with eyes closed
My head has been shattered I bet
The pelvis must also have shattered
How high a place must it be that
they might sweep me up and away again
carry and then throw me in a shed
They will

Lying alone in a cell
hanging from the air
I rot

Kim Hyesoon has published over a dozen poetry collections in Korean and was a professor of creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts for many years. She has won Kim Suyoung, Midang, and Sowol literary awards in Korea, the Cikada Prize from Sweden, and the Griffin Poetry Prize from Canada (with Don Mee Choi). Her poems have been translated into Chinese, French, Japanese, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, and Swedish. Her recent English publications include A Drink of Red Mirror, Poor Love Machine, and Autobiography of Death.

Cindy Juyoung Ok has translations from Kim Hyesoon’s The Hell of That Star published now or soon in journals like Asymptote Journal, Bennington Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. A MacDowell Fellow, she teaches creative writing at the University of California.