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The Moon Back Then

그때 달은
by Heo Su-gyeong
Translated from Korean by
So J. Lee

그때 달 하나 마치 나를 그릴 것처럼 저 혼자 내 속에서 돋아나더니 내 속을 빠져나가 걸어가기 시작했습니다 어둠에 감추어져 있던 나는 그렇게 빛 아래 서게 되었는데 (어쩌다가 내 속은 달을 돋아나게 했을까, 일테면 파충의 기억을 내 속은 가지고 있었던가) 후두둑 까마귀가 날아가는 소리 컹컹 늑대 우는 소리 저 먼 산 먼 산이 나무들을 제 품속에서 끄집어내어 올빼미를 깃들게 하고 (그때 또 달 하나 저 혼자 내 속에서 돋아나더니 내 속을 빠져나가) 먼저 걸어나간 달이 새로 걸어 오는 달을 성큼 집어먹자 산은 깃든 올빼미를 얼른 품으로 끌어안아 들였습니다 (그때 또 달 하나 저 혼자 내 속에서 돋아나서는 내 속을 끌고 허공으로 걸어갔습니다) 달을 집어먹은 달은 새로 걸어오는 달과 내 속을 바라보았습니다 그때 빛 속에 서 있던 나는 내 속을 성큼 집어먹었습니다 우리는 그렇게 서로 바라보았습니다 내 속에서 돋아든 달과 내 속을 집어 먹은 나는 그렇게 서로 바라보았습니다


The moon back then rose alone from within me as if to draw me and started walking out of me I came to stand under the light after being hidden in the dark (How did my insides produce the moon Does this mean my insides had a reptile’s memory) A crow’s flap A wolf’s cry That distant mountain The distant mountain pulled trees from its bosom and covered the owl (Then another moon rose alone from within me again and escaped me) When the moon that walked out first swallowed the new moon the mountain quickly embraced the owl (Then yet another moon rose alone from within me and walked toward the void tugging my insides) The moon that ate the moon gazed at the new moon walking over with my insides Then I swallowed my insides whole after standing in the light The two of us gazed at each other like that The moon that rose from within me and I who ate my own insides gazed at each other




Heo Su-gyeong. “Geuttae dareun” from Cheongdongui sigan, gamjaui sigan. Seoul: Moonji, 2005.

Heo Su-gyeong (1964-2018) was a diasporic South Korean writer, translator, and archaeologist. She published two poetry collections before moving to Germany in 1992 to pursue a PhD in ancient Near Eastern archaeology. Heo continued to write award-winning poems, novels, essays, and children’s books in Korean while living in Münster. (Photo copyright Moonji publishing co., Ltd.)
So J. Lee is the translator of Lee Hyemi’s Unexpected Vanilla (Tilted Axis Press, 2020), Choi Jin-young’s To the Warm Horizon (Honford Star, 2021), and Lee Soho’s Catcalling (Open Letter Books, 2021). They also make chogwa, a quarterly e-zine featuring one Korean poem and multiple English translations.