• onOctober 23, 2015
  • Vol.29 Autumn 2015
  • byKim Ki-taek


It is because numerous heads continually butt it from below
that the concrete floors crack
and the hard carapaces split loudly.
It is because there were natives who had been living there
before the concrete floor covered and pressed them down.
It is because new streams of water rush and butt again,
when the many streams that were crushed under the concrete
awaken in the spring
to push themselves out but die with broken necks.
It is because the hard concrete can hardly bear the itch
caused by the butting power of the soft water heads.
It is because the time of water drops drilling rock soars upwards,
and the concrete floor moves up and down.
From every crack in the concrete,
green streams of water leak.
Though the streams jet like fountains and draw parabolic arcs,
they do not drop into the ground drip by drip.
Though they sway continually, they do not fall.
Along the parabolic arc
the sloshing green water erects sharp edges.
It lies at the weak wind and rises at the strong wind.
The arc grows long and wide.
As the grass stem thickens, the concrete crack widens.
When thin, soft grass roots
get stuck in concrete like straw,
huge rocks get sucked in like cola.


Translated by Kim Won-Chun

Author's Profile

Kim Ki-taek is a poet, translator, and professor. He has published six poetry collections, one essay collection, and numerous children’s books; he has also translated many children’s books, including Hans in Luck. He has won the Kim Su-Young Literary Award, Hyundae Literary Award, Isu Literary Award, and Midang Literary Award. His books Storm in the Needle Hole and Gum have been published in Japan and Mexico, respectively.