Invention No. 9 in f minor



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






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