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POETRY

Breasts

  • onSeptember 25, 2017
  • Vol.37 Autumn 2017
  • byMoon Chung-hee
I Must Be the Wind
2014
123pp.

Blouse and bra taken off,
I embrace the cold machine.
The strong anxious smell of ethylene
penetrates my crushed breasts.
Both arms raised like a defeated soldier,
I surrender to the mammogram
looking for a moon dark spot.
These breasts wrapped tight in lace
since my teens.
Though everyone has them
only women's are a problem; 
like a sheaf of shameful confessions
breasts are kept a deep secret.
Our mothers fed us
wisdom and love through them
fertile hills of mammalian nature.
Fortunately I've owned two but 
for a long time they were not mine;
they belonged to my lover
or to my babies.
Stripped now
naked flesh embracing a machine
I own them to the depth of my bones.
These sad, drooping breasts,
clear moons being probed for dark spots.

 

Reprinted with permission from White Pine Press, New York, US.

Author's Profile

Moon Chung-hee is a poet and Endowed Chair Professor at Dongguk University. She has won prestigious awards such as the Sowol Poetry Award, the Chong Chi-Yong Literature Prize, the Mogwol Literature Prize, and Sweden’s Cikada Prize. She has participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. English editions of her books include WindflowerWoman on the Terrace, and I Must Be the Wind.