You are currently viewing night colors coiled even tighter
Sofía Ortiz, Para Victoria, 2020.

Language: Korean
Poet: Shin Youngbae
Translator: Eunice Lee
Region: South Korea


night colors coiled even tighter

A poem by Shin Youngbae, translated from Korean by Eunice Lee


빗속으로 구두가 던져질 때
화분 높이
비의 하단이 벌어졌다
짧은 치마가 짧게 던져질 때
유리창이 반짝 하고
비의 하단이 벌어졌다
어깨가 벗겨지고
단추가 뜯기고
블라우스가 던져질 때
골목에 살색이 버려질 때
검은색은 더 휘어지고
공기는 더 비릿하고
비의 하단이 벌어졌다
던져진 것이 바닥에 으깨지거나
벽에 달라붙거나
머리채일 때
비의 하단이 싹둑


빗속에 B 가 서 있었다


창문 안쪽에도 비가 내리고
아프지 않게 종이인형을 가위로 오리는 손끝으로부터


Shoes were tossed into the rain
and the rain’s lower parts split open
hanging one flower pot high
A short skirt was tossed a short distance
and the rain’s lower parts split open
leaving a twinkle on the glazing
Shoulders were stripped bare
buttons were ripped off
a blouse was flung
flesh colors littered the alleyways
night colors coiled even tighter
the air reeked something rawer
and the rain’s lower parts split open
Things, thrown, lay mashed on the floor
stuck to the walls
turned out to be whole heads of hair
and the rain’s lower parts were snipped

wide open

B was rained on, split

wide open

It rained, on the window’s inside
and from the fingers scissoring out a paper doll—carefully, so it wouldn’t hurt

Shin Youngbae is a South Korean poet and essayist born in 1972 in Taean, Chungcheongnam-do. She studied creative writing at Seoul Institute of the Arts, and debuted in 2001 in the journal Poesie edited by poet Kim Hyesoon. She won the Kim Gwanghyeop Literary Award (2017), the Kim Hyun Literary Award (2018), and the Gu Sang Literary Award (2021); and has written six poetry collections including Will I See You in That Forest? (Moonji Publishing, 2017), A Waterhat for You (Hyundae Munhak, 2020), and Water, Goggles, Moonlight (Moonji Publishing, 2020).

Eunice Lee’s translations of Korean poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Asymptote, The Margins, Columbia Journal, Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture, and more. She won the Edmund Keeley Literary Translation Award at Princeton University in 2020, and is pursuing a PhD in English at Harvard University.

This is one of five poems by Shin Youngbae (tr. Eunice Lee) included in Issue 10 of Circumference. Issue 10 • Summer/Fall 2022 © 2022 CIRCUMFERENCE, Inc.