My mother used the same knife for over twenty-five years. That’s roughly as old as I am. Through the slicing, chopping, and mincing, the knife grew paper-thin. As I chewed, swallowed, and slurped, my intestines and my liver, heart, and kidneys grew. Along with the food my mother made for me, I swallowed the knife marks that were left on the ingredients. Countless knife marks are engraved in the dark insides of my body. They travel along my veins and play on my nerves. That’s why a mother is a painful thing to me. It’s something the organs all know. I understand the word heartache physically.
– an excerpt from “Knife Marks“, Kim Ae-ran
In the orange forest of drowning suns
I saw your face in the light going out first.
I stood with my empty nets, on a boat, with oars
that won’t budge, won’t sail away from your closing eyes.
I played this only memory I had of you
throughout my journey back.
When my feet found a ground to breathe again,
you had already grown bigger, sadder, scarier,
sorrier presence in my life.
Through my dinner that night,
I thought up names you may have had,
the people you may have loved,
the heartaches you thought would never end.
I thought of how easily things end,
how nothing in our heart
can save our heart from this lonely end.
Were you thankful or sad that you had to know this,
to share this realization
with a stranger made of cold eyes and numb limbs?
That night I looked for your body in every ocean I had in me.
I don’t know what was the point of this search
but I knew I had to do something about you,
that my feet had to walk distances because of you,
that something in me must hurt more than it did now.
That finally I had to die with you,
to know what I don’t know now,
to know even a fraction of your pain.
I was sad and relieved that my need to know you
ended there – with that thought,
with the steps I cannot take.
i try not to think
about the places that are lost
only leaving clouds of colorless memories
floating on my not so blue sky
places that are lost
not only to me
but to this world
now no one will ever know the sweetness
of the light that was never beautiful enough
to be captured and framed
light that is only beautiful only in its death
beautiful only when it rises up without a reason
on the surface of our eyes
how my eyes miss seeing everything
that now cannot be seen
my eyes wake up from the dream of yesterday
into this new day that i must write
feeling that again i have lost something,
something meaningful in that dream
that will never return to me
a dream that i have no right to dream again
i try not to think about such losses
losses with name or reason or heartache
but no matter how much try
some days that is all i can think about
the doll with black buttons eyes – i can be that,
if you also don’t mind being one.
we can sit under the shade of broken wooden chair.
we can call this air-conditioned room our world.
the ring on your finger will longer fit you,
these bruises will finally leave your life.
we can wear dresses that carry no scent of rain.
and we will stay forever as girls without love,
girls without heartaches to cure.
i break another glass today,
the girl with blue highlights in her hair
walks over it without bleeding
but tells me
not to try such things at home on my own,
that it took her years of invisibility
to even try such tricks.
but she has no suggestions for what else i should do
instead of breaking my smooth skin
and wrecking my good name.
so she tells me a story about a girl and wolf,
another about a girl and her impossible dream,
about a girl and her sad prince,
a girl and the dark world,
a girl and whatever wants to break her down.
she tells me i don’t have to be that girl.
that i just have to be person who happens to be a girl
and not hate herself for it.
it is night already.
i find myself in strange blue rooms.
i hold hands with another new stranger
who promises to sing me to sleep.
he walks like heartache that knows how to smile.
he pretends to be the real deal.
he is too drunk on his own sad story like me
to even see anyone else.
so no we are not in love.
i just want to borrow his songs,
his voice, his awareness of all that is wrong.
i look out of his window, at my own home
at my friends, at my love, at broken frame of my family,
at myself who is trying too hard
to be indifferent to it all.
the battery of my phone dies
and i am alone again in this life
that i can’t find my way around.
i am somewhat lost, tired,
and yet somehow happy
to have lived through this despair,
through another dark night.