Chungmi Kim

 

A GIRL ON THE SWING

She sees the mountain
upside down.

With her long hair
sweeping the fallen leaves
she swings
like a pendulum.

From the lagoon at sunset
a hundred sparrows fly away.

Wishing them back
she whistles softly.
And downward
she falls into the sky.

 

 

THE FINAL CONTEMPLATION

The time has come to sit down and contemplate.
Let the marchers go into the street and beat their drums
and scream to the top of the hills.
The villagers will gather around the courtyard to watch
the hanging man dance to the tune of the rap song
before the dawn.

When the rain falls, the mountain spirits will descend
to take the dead to the gate of the Immortal Zone.
The mourners left behind will stay flat to the ground
unable to pick up their broken hearts.

That will pass in a flickering moment
like the sound of laughter hanging in the air.
Memories will fade like an age-old family photo.
In the end, all living and dead will meet in the Milky Way
for the final contemplation.

 

WHO OWNS THE ROOM?

The winds bustled about
frantic
for the winter carnival.

I washed my garments
by hand
for the summer to come.

I called a friend to play
the tune of autumn sonata.
She said I was only
dreaming.

On pages
I tried to contain the mysteries
of many lives I've cared about
and five ants crawled
making a map of Zen.

In the night
a shadow lingered
like a demon that embraced
nothing of life.

In forlorn hope
I stood
wondering
who owns the room.


Ellyn Weiss
Fruit of the Forbidden Tree, 2003
Acrylic and oilbar on canvas, 38" x 50"
see more work by Ellyn Weiss

 

 

CONSOLATION

I emptied my brain
laid out
and baked in the Hawaiian sun.

Drenched in sweat
hypnotized by the sound of waves
and the winds
I knew where I stood
for the first time in years.

I threw the sordid words in the ocean
letting them drift away
to be eaten up by fish.

The fattened fish will return
in my dream to build
a seven story paradise where

all my people will have a feast
so unforgettable--
Even the frogs will learn
to laugh at a picnic.

Then I will pass by
the open doors of certain names
with a radiant smile

not cursing
but blessing them all
genuinely like a goddess.

 

 

THE FOOTFALL

The full moon
glamorized with white
teeth shone
on the pavement.

The dots
zoomed like snowflakes
that winter.

To see you in your lover's arms
is like seeing
a child in his nurse's care.
I'm glad you can now unwind
your lonely breath.
It's a gift.
A memory.

A cat
sitting in the moonlit alley
listened
to my footfall.

Listening to yours
that night I disappeared
into the dark.
If you still remember...

How I am tonight
is how you see me.

You will not see
me again.

 

 

Born and raised in South Korea, Chungmi Kim came to the U.S. with a B.A. in English from Ewha University in Seoul. She earned an MA in Theater Arts from UCLA and has participated in the Warner Brothers Minority Writers Program for Television, WGA Open Door Writing Program, the Mark Taper Forum's Mentor Playwrights Program and the University of Southern California Professional Writing Program. She is the author of two books of poems, most recently Glacier Lily (Red Hen Press, 2004). Her poetry has been featured in numerous anthologies, and in Los Angeles buses as part of the Poetry Society of America's "Poetry in Motion" series. She has received screenwriting and playwriting awards and an Emmy nomination for co-producing Korea: The New Power in the Pacific, a documentary film for KCBS-TV. Her play Comfort Women had a successful run at Urban Stages in New York last fall. She currently resides in Falls Church, VA.

Published in Volume 6, Number 3, Summer 2005.