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Herakles was an important Greek hero …

Dasom Yang (2019)

My Forest Lies (after “Mein Wanderlied” by Else Lasker-Schüler)

Dwarf morning hours wait

Until the midnight mushrooms itself

Around my lips, shutting them

Into a proud line, a moss home

 

Torrential rains write the lake’s ways,

Each with its own salt, gaze and loss

Thousand seasons, light’s vices

Shine on me as I undo my voices.

 

And I wash them against the waiting stones

Against the fern’s music. Between water and river

Stay my bricks, the pyramid

Of dead Time and its skies.

 

 

Herakles was an important Greek hero and the elimination of Geryon constituted one of His celebrated Labors: A Cento

 

When Geryon was little he loved to sleep but

Even more he loved to wake up.

How new it tasted; the gentlest of violations.

 

You dream in black and white

I dream in fauve and phosphor

It’s predictable, the logic of dreams. It’s been

 

January for months in both directions.

He could feel the house of sleepers around him

Like loaves on shelves. I wish you were here

 

So I could bend a mirror around your face,

Pour you back into you. Every night, the moon

Unpeels itself without affectation. It’s difficult.

 

Outside the natural world was enjoying

A moment of total strength. A dark slowing

Of time, north light, bastard light,

 

And everything quiet quiet. With sensitive enough

Instruments, even uprooting a shrub becomes

A seismic event. So much of living is

 

About understanding scale. Sunset begins

Early in winter, a bluntness at the edge of the light.

Geryon leaned his hot forehead against

 

The filthy windowpane and wept. This is

Craft, necessary like a roadside deer—a thing

To drive past, to catch the white of, something

 

To make a person pause,

Say, look, a deer.

 

(sources:

The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

Calling A Wolf A Wolf by Kaveh Akbar

Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo

Human Work by Sean Borodale)

 

 

Genetically Speaking 2

 

Behind our house there was a university campus.

The State University of Marine Life—enrolment so low

it was facing closure soon. The campus was large, green,

and empty. I learned to ride bicycle there.

 

Mom, my sister, and I would ride around the ground,

played badminton. The two of us against Mom.

She’d let us win until we got tired.     Then we’d rest

under wisteria vines, and eat 김밥.

 

In spring the purple scent of the flowers was so hypnotic

it cost me my appetite.                           Sometimes wind

would blow petals onto my food.    I would eat them too

because Mum said we were what we ate                  and I

wanted to be pretty and mauve.

 

She called wisteria 포도송이—grape flower—because

of the way it looked. For the longest time I thought

when the petals were shed the buds would bloom into

pearls

of

merlot

grape.

 

Wisteria was Mom’s favourite flower. She looked

and smelled like it. I wondered if I grew up right

I would have my own bloom and scent. Seemed im-

possible. My genderless body felt un-

flowersome.

 

When spring waned the summer heat dried out the vines

and no fruits ensued.    The petals tasted flimsy and limp

on my tongue. Later in my botany textbook I read about

the actual grape blossoms.

 

Nearly all Vitis vinifera grapes have hermaphroditic flowers.

Female and male in one, they’re called perfect.       A photo

showed green and spiky sprouts that looked extraterrestrial.

I pushed my nose onto the page.                      Yes, no scent.

 

 

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