A child humiliated by their friend came and talked to n’t.
Please take me to a hospital.
But n’t told the child to go back and take revenge.
And the child said,
I am bleeding inside my head. Please take me to a hospital.
Everyone bleeds inside their heads! answered n’t.
Underneath pure white quilt between pure white walls,
Exercising the privilege of bleeding,
A child lay still wanting to take revenge against their friend, and lying beside the child
n’t imagined a revenge that dug into grave’s embrace.
She imagined taking revenge and exercising the privilege of eternal disappearance.
n’t asked the child.
Translated from the Korean by Jack Jung
Translator’s Note: This 시산문 (shisanmun, or “poetry prose”) is from Kim Hyesoon’s collection Thus Spoke n’t, which follows a persona named n’t. This is my English translation of 않아 (ahn-ah), a particle that negates the whole sentence whenever it is added in.
Kim Hyesoon is a South Korean poet and a feminist thinker. Her twelfth book of poetry, Autobiography of Death (2018), translated by Don Mee Choi, was the winner of the Griffin International Poetry Prize.
Jack Jung is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote fellow. He is a co-translator of Yi Sang: Selected Works (2020), the winner of the 2020 MLA Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work. He currently teaches at Davidson College.