I don't mean to make you cry.
I mean nothing, but this has not kept you
From peeling away my body, layer by layer,
The tears clouding your eyes as the table fills
With husks, cut flesh, all the debris of pursuit.
Poor deluded human: you seek my heart.
Hunt all you want. Beneath each skin of mine
Lies another skin: I am pure onion--pure union
Of outside and in, surface and secret core.
Look at you, chopping and weeping. Idiot.
Is this the way you go through life, your mind
A stopless knife, driven by your fantasy of truth,
Of lasting union--slashing away skin after skin
From things, ruin and tears your only signs
Of progress? Enough is enough.
You must not grieve that the world is glimpsed
Through veils. How else can it be seen?
How will you rip away the veil of the eye, the veil
That you are, you who want to grasp the heart
Of things, hungry to know where meaning
Lies. Taste what you hold in your hands: onion-juice,
Yellow peels, my stinging shreds. You are the one
In pieces. Whatever you meant to love, in meaning to
You changed yourself: you are not who you are,
Your soul cut moment to moment by a blade
Of fresh desire, the ground sown with abandoned skins.
And at your inmost circle, what? A core that is
Not one. Poor fool, you are divided at the heart,
Lost in its maze of chambers, blood, and love,
A heart that will one day beat you to death.
From Notes from the Divided Country by Suji Kwock Kim. Copyright © 2003 by Suji Kwock Kim. Reproduced with permission of Louisiana State University Press. All rights reserved.
Is it winter again, is it cold again, didn't Frank just slip on the ice, didn't he heal, weren't the spring seeds planted didn't the night end, didn't the melting ice flood the narrow gutters wasn't my body rescued, wasn't it safe didn't the scar form, invisible above the injury terror and cold, didn't they just end, wasn't the back garden harrowed and planted— I remember how the earth felt, red and dense, in stiff rows, weren't the seeds planted, didn't vines climb the south wall I can't hear your voice for the wind's cries, whistling over the bare ground I no longer care what sound it makes when was I silenced, when did it first seem pointless to describe that sound what it sounds like can't change what it is— didn't the night end, wasn't the earth safe when it was planted didn't we plant the seeds, weren't we necessary to the earth, the vines, were they harvested?
Section I is reprinted from October by Louise Glück, published by Sarabande Books, Inc. Copyright © 2004 by Louise Glück. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books and the author. All rights reserved.