Jang Su-Jin's poem 'Tofu Synedoche', translated by Jae Kim, appeared in The Poetry Review winter 2017 issue. The poem was first published in Korean in Mujang Webzine.

Tofu Synecdoche

by Jang Su-Jin

translated by Jae Kim

Where does the desert come blowing from

Everyone’s lying down. Only Tobi and Cogi, they’re walking

Tobi and Cogi throw up at the desert’s end

Pretty but nuts. Holding Tobi and Cogi’s wrists those young ladies of sleep followed. In the hospital room and in the hallway, they make a small house and a flower bed. The fat ball of water that broke in through the living room window. The light is smudged, it’s smudged. All women say the same thing. Smudged, it’s smudged. Plop, falls over. So no one can ever raise it. Hardened as mummies, sleep

Cough cough, a flower vomits ashen sleep. Sleep is water singed

Woman, in her sleep, thinks of one piece of tofu. To think I can neither touch it nor eat it…… My good old piece of tofu…… You’re far too far away. Above the silky sunshine-laid table, beside the linen curtain wavering in thin wind. Little by little you rot in every corner. Weak enough to crumble, this life of a lump

The cat nibbling at horn flowers on the fence, it’s suddenly patrolling in the house. Like the little devil. Shedding hairballs strewn with insects. The cat lightly springs onto the kitchen table and a little scratches the tofu. With every sneeze the woman falls more deeply into the tofu

One enormous tofu lump

The woman, inside the tofu, dribble-dribbles away. Eyes closed, from this edge to that edge. Inside the white tofu she receives the leafy season. The vines that grow by climbing on the woman, the gloomy comers and goers brined in mold. Having set out wearing an early winter’s coat, the grandma cuts lengthwise the tofu gone bad and slips out of the season

Going somewhere

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It’s dangerous like a very powerful doorbell.
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