“Drying Rack” by Kim Hye-Soo

Fom the clothesline hung on the drying rack,
winter laundry which nobody managed to remove for several days stretches out.
Before it could be dried, it froze and unfroze.
Over rehardened clothing,
a snow falls on what couldn’t be taken down.

For dried pollack to become deep-flavored and exceptional,
it must repeatedly endure being
frozen and thawed.
To avoid being sent flying over the wall,
its freshly frozen tears remain firm.

Laundry spreads out in the sub-zero air like an oak.
The wind making underwear do handstands
like family members stood in the corner.

You ran away from home and won’t return.

Leaving limbs behind.

As if doing a headstand,
I flap alone

and shiver on the clothesline

in the snow.


담장 안 빨랫줄에
며칠째 걷지 않은 겨울빨래가 널려 있다
마르기도 전에 얼다 녹다
다시 얼어붙은
미처 걷지 못한 빨래 위로 눈발 날린다
맛이 깊고 육질 뛰어난 황태가 되기 위해선
추위와 바람 속에서 거듭
얼었다 녹았다 해야 한다
담장을 넘지 않으려 애면글면
다시 얼어붙은 눈물은 단단하다

영하의 공중에 가랑이 벌린 채
내복 바람으로 오래도록
벌 서는 가족들

가출한 당신이 돌아오지 않고 있다

벗어두고 간 팔다리

저 혼자 펄럭이다가
줄 위에서 부르르 떨며

눈발 속에

물구나무 선 채


“Drying Rack” (덕장) originally appeared in Daum – 70 Representative Korean Poets.