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The dead without faces

run out like patients

when the door of the intensive care unit opens

carrying pouches of heart, pouches of urine

The dead running toward the path to the underworld

turn into stone pillars when they look back and their eyes meet

their past

The dead in their sacks look out with eyes brimming with salt

water

The dead become pillars of water as their tears melt their bones

The dead, gone forever, departed before you,

pull amniotic sacs over their heads and get in line to be born

again

and say that they need to learn their mother tongue all over

again

You’re not there when they awake or even when they eat

breakfast

When the dead swarm down the mountain

like children who pour out of the door of the first-grade room

carrying their notebooks and shoe bags

a four-ton bronze bell with a thousand names of the dead

engraved on it dangles from the helicopter

The helicopter flies over a tall mountain to hang the bell at a

temple hidden deep in the mountains

Underworld (Day Forty-Five)

Kim Hyesoon


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