forever sounds like: Selected Poetry by Hayun Cho

forever sounds like


Distant music is playing. An 80s Korean pop song. Shin Hae Chul’s “To You,” boundless like the open sea, like racing into June skies. A girl sits in the middle of the expanse of time, a dot in a sea. She wears her mother’s silk blouse, her mother’s fake pearls. She opens a golden tube of rouge and smears it on her mouth like a promise. The song helps her stay afloat. On the typewriter, she composes love letters.

You are marooned but you will not drown.

It is okay. Dance. Move. Remember

The steps? Remember how shameless you were

Shrieking, naked in grandma’s living room?


She opens a bag of chestnuts, eats them with her dirty fingers.


I want to be filthy again.

Touching everything.

Touching everyone.

Touching myself.


Grandpa’s farm, eating duck eggs for breakfast. She is hungry for candied persimmons, black soybean noodles, strawberry jam. One time grandma and grandpa danced to songs that sounded like a woman shouting. They raised their arms over their heads, closed their eyes, grinned, like solitude cannot be contained in a room. Like ships were setting sail, and they were there to greet them.


날 좀 보셔

날 좀 보셔

날 좀 보셔

아리랑 고개를 넘어간다

아리아리랑 쓰리쓰리랑 아라리가 났네

아리랑 고개를 넘어간다


Summer is coming. Summer, when you see your bloodline in the two houses, one in the city and one in the country. You will be humid. The monsoon will come like always. Your blouse will cling to you in the subway, deep underground. You will sweat. You will be happy.

푸른 하늘 은하수 하얀 쪽배엔

개수나무 한나무 토끼 한 마리

돛대도 아니달고 삿대도 없이

가기도 잘도 간다 서쪽나라로


Sing of blue skies, the milky way.


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Hayun is a rising senior at Yale studying literature. Her work has been published in The Margins and The Kenyon Review. She calls both Seoul and Chicago home. Photo credit: Mehyun Song


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