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POETRY

Red Scissors Woman

  • onSeptember 26, 2017
  • Vol.37 Autumn 2017
  • byKim Hyesoon
Tr. Don Mee Choi
2011
135pp.

 

That woman who walks out of the gynecology clinic
Next to her is an old woman holding a newborn

That woman’s legs are like scissors
She walks swiftswift cutting the snow path

But the swollen scissor blades are like fat dark clouds
What did she cut screaming with her raised blades
Blood scented dusk flooding out from between her legs

The sky keeps tearing the morning after the snowstorm
A blinding flash of light
follows the waddlewaddling woman
Heaven’s lid glimmers and opens then closes

How scared God must have been
when the woman who ate all the fruit of the tree he’d planted
was cutting out each red body from
between her legs

The sky, the wound that opens every morning
when a red head is cut out
between the fat red legs of the cloud

(Does that blood live inside me?)
(Do I live inside that blood?)

That woman who walks ahead
That woman who walks and rips
with her scorching body her cold shadow

New-born infants swim
inside that woman’s mirror inside her as white as a snow room
the stickysticky slow breaking waves of blood
like the morning sea filled with fish

 

Translated by Don Mee Choi

Author's Profile

Kim Hyesoon(b. 1955) is one of the most prominent and influential contemporary poets of South Korea. She was the first woman poet to receive the prestigious Kim Su-yong and Midang Awards, and her works have been translated into English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish. Her translated English works include: When the Plug Gets Unplugged (Tinfish, 2005), Anxiety of Words (Zephyr, 2006), Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (Action Books, 2008), All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (Action Books, 2011), Princess Abandoned (Tinfish, 2012), Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (Action Books, 2014), I’m OK, I’m Pig! (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), Trilingual Rensi (Vagabond Press, 2015), Poor Love Machine (Action Books, 2016), Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018), and A Drink of Red Mirror (Action Books, 2019). Kim lives in Seoul and teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. Kim, along with her long-time translator, Don Mee Choi, recently received the International Griffin Poetry Prize, Canada’s most prestigious poetry award, for Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2019).