"Memories of Giving Birth to a Daughter" by Kim Hyesoon

Memories of Giving Birth to a Daughter

-in p’ansori narrative

 

 

I open a mirror and enter,

mother is inside a mirror, sitting.

I open a mirror and enter again,

grandmother is inside a mirror, sitting.

I push aside this grandmother mirror and step over a doorsill,

great grandmother is inside a mirror, laughing.

I place my head inside great grandmother’s laughing lips,

great-great grandmother, younger than me

turns around inside a mirror, sitting.

I open this mirror and enter,

enter, and

enter again.

All the ancestral mothers are sitting

inside a darkening mirror,

and these mothers mutter and call in my direction,

“Mommy, Mommy.”

Their mouths pucker, crying for milk,

but my breasts have no milk, and someone...

Kim Hyesoon is a poet and professor of creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. She has written twelve poetry collections, out of which Poor Love Machine; Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream; All the Garbage of the World, Unite!; Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers; and I’m Ok, I’m Pig! have been published in English. Her poetry has been featured and reviewed in The Independent, Guernica, Mānoa, The Margins, World Literature Today, and Po&sie.