Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 1



Mihee Kim


Doppleganger

I wonder
at the root of me,
a knotted pine where the spine should be.

She asks for permission
as though my being
is a question.

As though I would get
an answer
other than,
I am impermissible.

She tells me,
the deadened moss of memory overflows.

She silences me with improbable odds
and black holes singing
in my lungs.

I etch potentials and trace the future.

How I try to be pretty,
and she laughs.

I woo the words that churn my sex
and heal my death,
only to wonder at their worth.

She wades through the promise of cave and organ,
oozing a choleric disposition.

Her echoes are cynical,
Her
             heart
                          gives
a
             syncopated
                                       beat.

I am
always forgetting
to say goodbye on purpose.
Farewell is an ode, is a life, of forgetting.

Eucalyptus stills my dance. Its limbs peer
under my skin,
propping up
a suit of experience.

Where is my soul if not in my mind?
I capture her voice with my anger

Only earth cools my tongue
I lick
at the dirt embracing my roots
while she cascades
into penumbra.

A loose hold on me inside me.
Is she intention, a mirror, a bath of sanguine excellence?

I ask her to sleep another night,
and let me walk the day for us.

She says,
You are sleeping, and I am walking.
We are not lonely yet.




Han (한)*

Unless heartbreak is your taxonomy,
I won’t trust you.

I need
to feel
you
understand this burning
the way I feel
the wind. Please caress

my
apricot skin.

This human coat is
history
leaping out of pores. Our past

is an elaborate gift
of love.

But it is a dowry nonetheless.

I am dust in time,
I am
love

beneath

the harbinger in my cheeks.

*Han has no English equivalent, but is often translated as a cultural feeling related to the Korean people, one of sorrow, spite, rancor, regret, resentment or grief, unfulfilled vengeance.


Mihee Kim: "I grew up in New York and New Jersey, but am now based in Oakland, California. Writers that have influenced this work include James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Audre Lorde, Lee Sharkey, Terrance Hayes, and Nayyirah Waheed."




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