What happened? What news?
Someone knocked hard,
we let him in. Becoming we in his presence,
or at his behest. We opened the door
and let him in,
to the house where lately we’re strangers. Someone knocked hard,
who let him in? We had thought of late
to leave this house, our only home, where lately
we were strangers. But we have nowhere to go. I opened
the door, I let him in. Last night
in the house, my child had the fever. It rose at night
to one hundred and one.
Her fever gone up. 101. Fever dream
in which we are the fever,
what kind of bug,
is it in my body?
I knew you once, when we were sitting
together across the table. I knew your name, it was warm
in my house. Once,
we might have looked through the door
to the fields, to the meadows, to the edge of oceans
but now in our house we’re
accustomed to silence.
Our lucid becoming, in the house without mirrors
where our face is not yet visible. I thought I knew
how to tend my child
when we sat together often at the table. I knew our names,
we were warm in our house. Someone knocked
and I let him in, and now the house is a ruin
and we have nowhere else to go.
of moribund lucidity. Mourn with us, look upon
what we’ve lost,
we clasp ourselves in our forgetting, we forget ourselves
in our becoming other.
The wish to live becoming something, other. Remember
we were here together. We opened the door
to whomever knocking.
What news? What happened? (I opened the door).
What ghost or specter? (I knew him well).
Someone knocked, and came in
but not the one whom I feared,
for the one I fear is too various for my loathing.
One life only, among many lives, in which
we are always becoming.
What we is now coming? We opened the door
to whomever was knocking, when the specter came in,
when the fever rose
as we were sleeping,
and why were we sleeping and how can we sleep—
unfurl the we, its million knots,
unlock the door to the various, us—
we opened the door and he strode in,
fever dream in which we are obliging,
the mind plays a trick, the trick
our becoming. One life only
and eternally becoming.
We become our loss, and we mourn without ceasing.
We opened the door and in he strode.
Becoming we, we want only to live
and this wish must become our condemnation
to be alone in the fields, at the edge of the ocean,
where nothing will be
seen on our faces. The forest, the ocean,
the meadows, the fields, the plains, the groves,
the beautiful groves,
we want only to live.
What news, and where,
did you see me there? What is ruin?
(The drawing you made that got wet, it’s ruined).
Our house a ruin,
we have nowhere to go. Not
that I’ve suffered, but I’ve had too much joy.
No one else was allowed to enter.
He knocked hard, came in, shut the door. I have
nowhere else to go.
I tried to stay, in the house
where we were strangers. I tried to do what I could,
but my trying was for nothing. Ruined world, world of ruin,
we go again and again to each other’s houses,
knocking hard on the door,
I did what I could
but my doing was for nothing.
What have you done? What will you do?
What confusion did we suffer? We let him in, we shut the door,
we have nowhere to go. Here we are,
together at last.
Here at last, in our ruined house,
together at last. I could wander outside
but never discover us.
We stay in the house, together at last.
It is joy that binds us here, as much as suffering.
Together at last. What now of your world?
together here, together at last. We let him in,
he shut the door. We have nowhere else to go.
Only pills and liquids,
soothing the fever without knowing its causes,
in the house where we are strangers. We opened the door
and let him in. Strangers
no longer, we become in ruin.
No, Mama. The drawing got wet, and it was beautiful.
Youna Kwak lives in Redlands, California, where she writes, teaches, and walks in the mountains. She has also lived and worked in Brooklyn, Missoula, New Haven, New Orleans, Olney, Paris, Providence, Seoul, and Silver Spring. She loves correspondence and would be pleased if you dropped her a line.