Academic journal article Chicago Review

Hour with One Hand Inserted in a Time of War

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Hour with One Hand Inserted in a Time of War

Article excerpt

We dug with our hands & hand shovels.

We dug with our spatulate feet.

& with torsos as our only circumference

we dug a maze. A maze of passageways:

Level Three the Maternity Ward, April

with knees on either side of her chin.

Some thoughts no wider than a chest.

Some thoughts no wider than a chest,

heaving. On Level Six a green parrot opened

its red beak & it reached us, seconds later,

as a roar. Our eyelashes cringed, & lashed back.

We named it the Level of Roaring Parrots

& turned back to our work, carrying sewage out

by moonlight, the buckets light each night

& getting lighter. A gas lamp flickered

beside a makeshift waterfall. Ceilings

of soil shook soil. Joo plucked her eyebrows

with her eyes closed, a kind of faith. &

from the mouth of an infant a cracked nipple

slipped-what minerals are my lips

or packed vegetation my eyes-black coals

how darkness changes darknesses each time

I blink, & blink again, Level One's filling

with tear gas, swing through the Level of

Eternal Foliage & seal it off-April you there,

Yes, I'm here, October's on the Level of Yellow Orioles

Warbling High in the Shadowy Summer Woods

& Gungjeong was last on the Level of Indentations

Left Behind by Falling Snow & should we

stand guard at the Level of One Hand Raised

to Block the Lemon seed of the Sun

or should we push off, down the tunnels,

dig a hole in the side of a wall & wait? …

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