- Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers
Tr. Don Mee Choi 200880pp.
In the poem that bears the title of Kim Hyesoon’s remarkable book “Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers” (elegantly translated by Don Mee Choi), motherhood blooms outward until the private world of her children is transformed into a vast feathered incubator:
At mommy’s house, the floors are also mommy, the dust that floats around the rooms is also mommy, when you open the door of mommy’s house I’m under mommy’s feathers like an unhatched egg.
By blurring the lines between human and animal consciousness/experience, Kim complicates the intimacy of the private, often domestic space of mothering by revealing how such spaces feed into a larger and often shockingly violent historical or social machinery.
Uncle who lives next door and checks the sex of the chicks killed all the males and sent them to a food stall where roasted sparrows are sold
All the female chicks were sent to a boarding house
He says the females chicks will be raised to be eaten later.
Yet the aperture of the poem opens exponentially wider to reveal the slightness of these societal conditions in the cosmic birth of all existence from within mother.
Beneath sleep there are stars that have not hatched yet
Stars that call me desperately
Below the stars, far below
I, another mommy, have many cold stars in my embrace