I Dream of School


The pigeon house where machines sing with their black mouths
open, next to the tenderly pealing school gates
is my deskmate’s head so we need to stick close to the walls

Walls where glass bottle shards glitter like press knives
A boy in work clothes shouts Hey,
Miss Pigeon, you dropped a feather

When space clouds come in screaming
it’s time to hide in the air-raid shelter
While the airplane was crashing behind me
I touched his ear underneath the desk

I run,
I’m running,
the bridge has no guardrails
a creek flows next to the guardrails
The calculation problems are eighth or sixteenth notes
And under the bridge the teachers catch dogs

When clouds come crowding in my head
that’s when his eyes turn white with chalk dusk
The school is open like a privy hole late at night
like it’s singing Ah ah oh oh









Stella Beauty Parlor


I am a heavy woman, when I can’t tell what I want I tidy my hangnails, I wanted to rise up, like a volatile afternoon washed away by golden dye you come and go, when number 1 you came out to meet me and waited I went into a motel room with number 2 you but while number 2 you slapped me because my knit undervest was embarrassing I shared mung bean pancakes with number 3 you and number 3 you vanished and number 4 you and I lived together a long long time but number 4 you grew taller and number 5 you left and I drank many cups of evaporating liquor and I telephone number 4 you, please draw the curtains, you say there are no more names like beauty parlor? Every time I saw a mirror I mimicked your smile, not because I wanted to be younger, not because I wanted to be prettier, because I couldn’t stand it, this is tricky, I didn’t mean to become mysterious, it’s just that something floated up, as meaningless as an ad blimp over a rooftop attic, that hair is not mine, I was always prosaic, am I growing as light as a joke?









Ha Jaeyoun (b. 1975) made her literary debut in 2002 when she won Literature and Society’s New Writer’s Award. She has published three poetry collections, Radio Days (2006), Like All the Beaches in the World (2012), and Cosmic Goodbye (2019), and the monograph The Adventure of Modern Poetry and the Changing Korean Language (2012). She is a visiting professor at the Korea University School of Liberal Arts Education.

Sue Hyon Bae is a poet and translator. She was raised in South Korea, Malaysia, and Texas, and received her MFA in creative writing at Arizona State University. She is the author of the poetry collection Truce Country (Eyewear Publishing, 2019) and co-translator of Kim Hyesoon’s A Drink of Red Mirror (Action Books, 2019). Find more at suehyonbae.com