Sept/Oct 2021 • Vol. XLIII No. 5 Poetry |

First Love

Sister sleeps by the side door. In the evening, Sister touched the sleeve of her shirt fluttering in the yard. The younger sister never once complained about the laundry being smudged. Flightless birds are like those salamanders who know how to stop, says Sister. You know how they stop briefly near the table’s edge? She opens the book of fauna, takes a kitchen knife, and clips a salamander’s tail. Having grown tall while flitting in and out of the side door, Sister stoops, nightly rounds her pale neck. Whenever the moon draped on the handrail straightens the bones in her body, her shoulders ache. She wonders, Could I visit him? She packs her bags because her hands and feet don’t grow anymore. The night’s moon drops to the yard like a rumpled white shirt. To move on, to leave the side door behind, Sister wears lipstick and sleeps. The only lodging she can find in her sleep is a crater. The salamander finds a crater on a map of the moon and crawls in. Translated from Korean b

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