Note: Original in Korean
Hibiscus has bloomed *
Expectation, a silent, crunching step,
slides down my spine
As I shudder at its moist fingertips,
with a whisper it enters my mind
Flowers droop, whirling, squashed shadow
A crumpled piece of paper left behind in the ribcage
A hole in the Hanji ** by the wet tongue
bruise, slithering through, paralysing the whole body
Softly licking the frozen lumps of blood
and placing a kiss on the subsiding wound
I pour another cup of flower alcohol
and seek sleep in the eye of the vortex
* Hibiscus syriacus is the precise translation of the Korean national flower, 무궁화. “Hibiscus has bloomed” is the name of a game for children in which one person turns their back on the other players, and while covering the eyes, that person chants out loud “Hibiscus has bloomed”. During that time, the other players can advance from the starting line. Once the chanter finishes the sing-song sentence and turns their head, everyone must freeze. The goal is to get near to the chanter and to tap that person’s back while it is turned.
** Hanji is a traditional type of paper from Korea, which has been produced and used for close to 2000 years. Among other things, it also used to be applied to the frames of doors and windows, because Hanji offered a good protection against the wind. However, because it was made of paper, a bit of wetness could easily tear through it.