Heather Hong

Heather Hong is a writer from Maryland. She currently lives in Seoul, working on her Master’s in Comparative Literature at Seoul National University. She has participated in various spoken word events. In DC she’s performed in Split this Rock and the Junkyard Ghost Revival. In Seoul she’s performed in the Encyclopedia Show and the Vagina Monologues among others. Poets she turns to on tough days are Rachel McKibbens and Billy Collins.

 

Her Taste on Your Lips

 

In sleep,

the magnets

pulling from each of our centers

break two ribs,

tear open the flesh

outlining our hearts,

wanting out.

The arm that found the breast

to press into,

the hand that cupped

the chin,

the cold foot grazing the calf

my hip, your stomach.

(Your hands held

her face as she dreamt,

of chasing children

naming them after you;

You kissed her

open mouth,

her closed lids.)

You can’t tell

the difference anymore.

You whisper her name

touching your lips

to my cheek.

 

 

#Survivor#NorthKorean#Defector

 

You still sleep with your bedroom door locked

 

your front door bolted and

 

Chained

 

as you are to those memories

 

how you slept with your most faithful lover (fear).

 

Tonight

 

you lie awake with

 

streams of silver from your lit eyes.

 

He is still circling just above your head.

 

Though now,

 

your belly is thick and full

 

your lips moist

 

your head un-cracked

 

you still remember.

 

The night he raided your room

 

sifted the jewel of your body out of your blankets

 

stripped you

 

placed bills into your privates, your open mouth,

 

as you lay on cool concrete floors

speaking gasps like your native tongue.

 

He asked

 

“Where were you headed?”

 

He is smiling.

 

Crisp. Square. Thick. Solid.

 

His boots shiny

 

till the first contact

 

with your flesh which holds onto each blow like a catcher’s mitt.

 

An elbow crumbles

 

your spirited nose line

 

cracking your face down to your jaw

 

now unhinged

 

your mouth gaping open to taste the sour air.

 

You swear to yourself that

 

when you open your eyes

 

you will gather yourself

 

each piece

 

and go.

 

It’s just,

 

even after the Leaving

 

even after you’ve finally done it and you’ve finally won

 

no bolt or lock

 

can unchain you from his sweat-infused scent,

 

how it smells of your blood and spit

 

curdling at the back of your/his throat.

 

How even now,

 

each time you try to smile,

 

the crack beneath the sealed skin still begins

 

to part.

Share This Post!