In “ELEGY FOR OUR PSEUDOHISTORIES,” the speaker navigates a world of obstacle and trauma. After all, “What is a horse/ if not a vehicle to test its rider.”



All political and social ideologies came alive, in the temporal and spatial sense, in an area completely isolated from the outside world…


—Choi Jungwoon. “The Gwangju Uprising: The Pivotal Democratic Movement That

Changed the History of Modern Korea”



That snaggle-toothed boy kissing the rounded corner

of a truck—knees limp against silver hubcaps, a prayer


hooking him down the roads. Blooming in purpose

and fervor, I believe it. I didn’t believe


the first nursery home fight, nor the second, the third,

but I believe my grandfather on the crimson dusting


his shoes, flowering on the ground, the snaggle-tooth boy

a question of a body. I saw a fake crime scene on TV once:


just four limbs and a head stretched over a

dinosaur fossil (extinct body). A human body inverted


is, after all, only bones reverted, and who’s to say

what belongs on the outside and what doesn’t belong


anywhere at all. How his feet must have pressed

into ground until it was no longer apart from the earth, the earth


merely allowing the soles to part at each step,

pounding home, backpack laced over his head. I know


he scrubbed & scrubbed the shoes long after

their demise—or revival—in sharp motions


like the soldiers dusting their hands. No entry to

Gwang-ju, schoolboys sprinting home the wrong


way, the feet of the students much like those of

the soldiers: bloody & patchworked with wary


intention. Marching perhaps knowing they too

may go extinct a mutilated body and nothing more,


hanging by one incisor.




after Franny Choi



Make me three kingdoms. Make me


a continent of sires so wide and endless


they ride like stars in expansion,


thunderously back in time. Hooves


clattering in tandem, metal animals,


great city beasts. What is a horse


if not a vehicle to test its rider, much like


the A-train bucking through Saturday mornings,


gears trembling into slot. Traversing the great


kingdom of transit lines and given enough


berth even Genghis would’ve thought you


fearsome. You say, They’re afraid.


They tell me to go back


to my empire. He says, Defiance


is what propelled the horses.




“I was born a woman but never lived as a woman.”

for Kim Hak-Sun, who died without an apology



All I think about is the clean separation of whole objects no blood. Cars and street poles and



Trauma shears can cut through almost anything. Leather and

denim to turn the victim face-up to the heavens,


as if to say Look what you’ve done or Look what you can save,

because made in His image means holding everything against hope,


as if it counts. Do not ask me about cutting. Once, the umbilical was

torn from a child because the child was borne from tearing too—


Skin sloughed from bone to settle in ox bone broth, hanbok in violent sep

aration from a girl’s milky skin. Lured by promise of work


and made to give up the flesh in cycles of centuries. How surgically

brutal the division of cloth and body, of girl and machine,


of woman and her entire life. Of comfort / and / woman, units of war supplies,

they were called. Made in His image is the arrogance to mold a woman


into what she is not, oil-slicked fingers trying to press metal. A war

never atoned. Do not ask me about cutting again, until each bullet


is returned in the shape of their names.



Yejin Suh

Yejin Suh is a writer based in New Jersey whose work appears in places like Half Mystic and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She is the founder of Wintermute Lit, a speculative fiction, poetry, and art publication. She hangs out at https://ya-suh.blogspot.com/.

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