Written by Kim Hyesoon 
Translated by Choi Don Mee
Illustrated by Narges (Hasmik) Mohammadi 

Published 3/28/2014

 Art by Narges (Hasmik) Mohammadi 

Art by Narges (Hasmik) Mohammadi 

You can get to know God’s obsession regarding cross-stitch and lace
by leafing through an old pattern book where sun rises moon rises

You can also get to know about it naturally as you stand still by a riverside where mist is falling

When you wrap the thin and transparent thread around your fingers for the first time, you may be startled, Goodness it’s so light
but this is how the long story, the faint lace begins
Will the lace grow up to be a bloodied undergarment?
or a bridal veil floating away in the river?
or an outfit worn in the ground below?

Ah it’s a really amazing pattern
but if you leaf through the worn-out pattern book
like the curtain of mommy’s first wedding night
the story is all in the pattern

Inside the transparent patterns full of holes
January 1, December 18, December 25

God is a cross-stitch and lace obsessive-compulsive patient
He sits on the windowsill like a curtain and overhears all the secrets of the inside and out, flapping about

The day when my nervous system gets entangled like fishing lines
and thrown into the wavering bottom like a wrecked ship

slash slash slash
current current current

scrape scrape scrape
streak streak streak

crack crack crack
scratch scratch

You can get to know God’s obsession regarding cross-stitch and lace
right away when you see that the foot of the mountain across from my brother’s house where 2500 pigs have been buried alive is completely covered in snow

Like when the butterflies with the whitest threads in their mouths spew out from the scrunched larvae of death

Eyelashes bore through the old pattern book and come flying spot spot
the snowflakes as white as the kiss of the eyelashes

Weightless patterns close their eyes and fall on the field breath breath breath
emitting holes like the smiles of a girl

 

KIM Hyesoon is one of the most important poets of South Korea. She lives in Seoul and teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. Kim’s work in English 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), and Princess Abandoned (Tinfish, 2012). Her most recent work in translation, Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream, is forthcoming February of 2014, published by Action Books. 
(Updated Nov. 2013)

CHOI Don Mee, born in South Korea, is the author of The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010) and the recipient of a 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award. She received the 2012 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize for her translation of Kim Hyesoon’s All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (Action Books, 2011).  
(Updated Nov. 2013)

Narges (Hasmik) Mohammadi is an Iranian illustrator and writer. She has done illustrations for many Iranian magazines and publishing houses. She has had several national and international group exhibitions. She is art director at Dane-Ab Illustration.  
(Updated Mar. 2014)