For the Second Time in Thirty-Three Years

  • onAugust 3, 2016
  • Vol.32 Summer 2016
  • byChoi Seung-ja

For the second time in thirty-three years
I resolve to escape from myself.
First I detach my head
place it on a shelf.
Take off my arms and feet
put them on my desk and
detach my torso, seat it on a chair.
Using only my creaky knees, I steal away furtively
and start a desperate run.
I run on and on and run some more
when I can run no longer
when I want to be still, to rest
someone walks ahead of me.
I run to them seeking pity.
Let me rest in your arms awhile,
and, if only I could,
softly, as air escapes a balloon
softly, let me die in those arms.
They walk off pretending not to hear.
I beg them again for pity and
at last, reluctant, as though it’s bothersome
when they turn to look back at me

There it is......
my own crumpled face.


Translated by Sophie Bowman