After Yun Dong-ju
From the floor of my room in a foreign land. Morning breaks open
with newspapers, each one with terrible promises
of deportation and imprisonment and murder of my friend, a poet,
then another, until they are all gone.
I ran out into the streets though it was not enough.
I screamed out in horror though it was not enough. The sun began
to sink faster, pouring dark over our hair, and I was scared. Still I was selfish—
I found blessed time to write a line lush with songbirds, meteors, and bees,
tuck my notebook under my arm and saunter here, and there, and here again.
Meanwhile bombs, drones, and other winged creatures vanished from our sight
and into the living, where we won’t find them.
We continue to hum and eat because we can. We sigh and we write
and we read things like this: a harmless male bee without stingers is called
a drone; it cannot sting to save its own life.
I lie down. This is the floor. This is the floor in a foreign land.
This is the vanishing line. This country, here, there, here.
Silly girl. Silly, silly girl, thinking that writing line
after line of beastly beatitudes will help her. How silly,
how silly, silly, silly, silly.
Emily Jungmin Yoon writes and translates poetry. She is the Poetry Editor of The Margins, the literary magazine of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and is a PhD student in the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department at the University of Chicago.