for two voices
⌠ A pang, spangled, fire fangled―
⌡ How often the little stab
⌠ the golden spear poised lightly
⌡ shakes me. How terribly I want
⌠ in his hand as she swoons, head thrown back,
⌡ what is not mine, what others have,
⌠ openmouthed, pain and sweetness carrying her
⌡ what may yet come to me.
⌠ out of herself,
⌡ I’d burn ox bones wrapped
⌠ rapt bride of God.
⌡ in the bloodied lace
⌠ Marble made flesh made spirit.
⌡ of caul fat, flinching but persistent
⌠ Dear Teresa,
⌡ when sizzle struck me, seared me
⌠ when you wore a hair shirt, tied nettles to your wrists,
⌡ marked me. I’d sit zazen for days,
⌠ used olive twigs to throw up
⌡ left hand cupping the right,
⌠ to ensure you could receive the Host,
⌡ holding empty egg-shaped air.
⌠ how did you contain
⌡ If I thought it would fulfill
⌠ yourself, find such joy
⌡ this want, grant me
⌠ in the bridling of desire?
⌡ the little birdling of my desire.
*Audio recording read with Micah Ruelle
Hyejung Kook’s poetry has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Hyphen Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, wildness, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. Other works include an essay in The Critical Flame and Flight, a chamber opera libretto. She is a Fulbright grantee and a Kundiman fellow. Find more of Hyejung’s work hyejungkook.tumblr.com.