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,
All the ancestral mothers are sitting
inside a darkening mirror,
and these mothers mutter and call in my direction,
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.