by Don Mee Choi

Weaver in Exile 2

Stars are whores.

I weave pubic hair for dolls and frogs naively lit by your orange lamps. If cloth is meat, what is blood? Try weaving shredded wrists, decapitated hearts. Was my mother a sacred bitch?

The earthen bridge takes me to a shallow creek. Is this the Milky Way? Babies or children on bridges annoy me. Who separates them from mothers? You?
A galaxy of moss. I’m tired of this imitation sky.

Let’s skip to your dream. How many lamps did you see? Do you remember east and west? Explain the island. Why is the bridge flat? Describe the distance between the murmuring pines. Did you love my mother? Will I remarry?


Weaver in Exile 3

Loneliness is a dense thing. There’s no data inside a collapsed star. My tongue glides into a ring of silence. My heart beats in practical terms. There is no moon, no cycle, no time. X-rayed a thousand times, my sex is neutered. What cooks inside are sulphur, calcium, and iron—the stuff from blood and bones, the stuff from fermenting stars. Let’s not say loneliness is solitude, for distance is not marriage.

Ask the butterflies. Prostitutes can only marry GIs.

I would explode if a hot fetus pressed against my belly. Sometimes baby breaths can cause nausea. I remember mother as a river beyond reach. I saw her only at night. Her milk was white. Her breasts had hair like peaches. There were no gaps in her caress. I looked like a boy, so I attempted to swallow her nipples. Next night, she returned with tar smeared on her breasts. I never saw her again.

Detachment is easy. I thought the Herder could point me to the Milky Way. Instead he drank his head off while chasing his ox. Father, I think you are a closet weaver. Murmuring pines have told me so. They say you can’t measure distance like me and you never drink. Distance is always far like tarred breasts. What use are lit lamps, when we are both blind to blackness?


Weaver in Exile 4

You lug buckets of shit from one pond to another. Babies fall out of wombs like ducks from Venus. When do tears split into water and salt? The universe is one vast puddle of moss with pink poker dots. One less duck won’t stop Herder from hugging his beer bottle smeared in ox shit.

Don’t be fooled by chaos of crows, they’re just messing with sonic waves. The universe isn’t as deep as you think. However, milk is deep. I forget babies. I forget to change their diapers. Like cheese, they curdle on their own. I held one and felt I could love anything. Mine had a cyst too heavy for his forehead. To feed him, I had to hold a needle between my nipple and his mouth. I learned that even milk needs distance.

You sent me to the west where the moon is always a sliver from the shadow of deformity. My loom faces the east, screeching like a starved ox. I weave for mothers without sons. Carps, peppers, noses, and oversized genitals on fine silk pulled from the inner holes of caterpillars. My feet are raw from peddling sex. I wrap the cyst in newspaper and drop it in the starry river, while you pray to the pointless sky.


Weaver in Exile 5

Dear Father, I am sitting on crows’ backs that wobble with grease. Stars look like pebbles from here. Magpies scream with joy. I weep from solitude of claws.


Weaver in Exile 6

Help me, She-bear, help me help me. Father flung me to the core of soot. My tears are turbulent from its pulsing thumb. Nebula has nice ring.

Weaver in Exile 7

Dear rock,
Dear tree,
Dear sky,
Please let Father die.

From the braids of crows’ backs I open a door. Drops of white resin lead to a pond of molten carps. Flimsy orange and blue skin swim across the Milky Way, leaving nothing behind.

Dear rock,
Dear tree,
Dear Father,
Please let me cross.

Don Mee Choi's poems have appeared in Cipher, Tinfish, and Action Yes. She has translated Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Women (Zephyr, 2006) and When the Plug Gets Unplugged: Poems by Kim Hyesoon (Tinfish, 2005). More translations of Kim Hyesoon’s poetry are forthcoming from Action Books, 2008.