By Myung Mi Kim b. 1957
“peacekeeping troops”
“tanks beneath the windows”

The inside of someone else’s dwelling visible — a table and some chairs.

You start to count one, two, three, four . . . until the explosion is near your neighborhood.
You can guess the position of mortar by this counting and try to find a safe place.

If the windows are gone, weak plastic is taped up but the strong wind comes and we stay awake.

In this South Cholla Province where all vehicles had been confiscated, we resorted to walking, the method of travel of the Yi Dynasty. We reverted back 300 years.

                                                                                                Kwangju, 1980

It’s the same to be in the house, at the shelter or anywhere. There is no safe place.
When we have no electricity, we are sitting in the dark and we know what life looked like before Christ.

                                                                                                Sarajevo, 1992 

Myung Mi Kim, "LAMENTA: 423" from Commons. Copyright © 2002 by the Regents of the University of California.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Commons (University of California Press, 2002)

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Poet Myung Mi Kim b. 1957

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Myung Mi Kim


Myung Mi Kim was born in Seoul, Korea. She immigrated with her family to the United States at the age of nine and was raised in the Midwest. She earned a BA from Oberlin College, an MA from The Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her collection of poems Under Flag (1991) won the Multicultural Publishers Exchange Award of Merit; subsequent collections include The Bounty (1996), DURA (1999), Commons . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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