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The Fates: Two Poems by Eddie Kim

‘There’s a piece of me / that has never been / to this country and another that never left. // I stare at strangers as if they might be friends. // It took three weeks of traveling / before anywhere looked like home.’

By Eddie Kim

 

The Fates I

 

Without warning, the coiffeur cut
my widow’s peak with a pair of shears,
and in a single clip, snipped my father’s
memory from my face.

I watch a few hairs drift down
a seersucker barber cape.
An assistant offers me tea
or is it condolence?

My father told me his widow’s peak
was taken from him by a man
in Korea. Plucked one by one
never to return.

I look out a window,
but there are none. Only mirrors
with televisions superimposed
in the corner.

I cannot trust this man. He wears
a suit jacket whilst amending my lineage.
He is too pleased with himself.
My tea has gone cold, and there are hairs in it.

 

 

 

The Fates III

 

A stranger in Seoul removed
my mourning cap and placed me
in a new suit. My mother said

some people ask to have their faces removed.

I can’t tell if I feel different or not.

There’s a piece of me
that has never been
to this country and another that never left.

I stare at strangers as if they might be friends.

It took three weeks of traveling
before anywhere looked like home.
Before I got used to the way dead trees look

on these hills. Perhaps death is cultural.

There’s a haze here through which no star
can be seen. They say it’s pollution.
There are clouds everywhere,

but not a drop of rain.