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Two Poems by Jihyun Yun

Drink it all, / dredge the bottom for sunk honey

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday
September 7, 2021

My Grandmother Thinks of Love while Steeping Tea

Though you won’t be sated
let me adore you in my way:

dried persimmons to tear into,
the flesh yields: a sparrow’s wing.

Coat your lip with pulp and sugar
from tea boiled in the copper pot I loved

to bruise over patient flames. The ginger
sharp and sweet, will permeate our palm’s

ravines. I’ll wait until the water golds, then yuja rind,
coiled cinnamon, clove, dates like sun

worn faces. Drink it all,
dredge the bottom for sunk honey

pull the thumb of ginger into your mouth
and suck. I mean for you to taste

your inheritance. The gunpowder,
our soil.

Husband Stitch

Dr.—.——— was called upon to explain the “Husband Stitch,” which he did as follows: He said that when he was stitching up a ruptured perineum, of a married lady, the husband . . . peeped over his shoulders and said, “Dr., can’t you take another stitch?” and he did, and called it the “Husband Stitch.”

From “Transactions of the Texas State Medical Association, Volume 17”

so my lord laid me down on her meat—

and named me her husband’s—

said you will improve the woman’s

well-being I willed it so—

pearled thread through her perineum tenderly I—

tucked into that rain—

ravaged terrain pulled taut these walls—

for her own sake which is synonymous—

with her husband’s girlish aperture I loved—

to breathless you will improve

will increase vulvular and sweet—

I was the opposite—

of violence—

for weeks, we lived in love—

no blood leaving unbidden I grew—

human(ely) fond of her body, which I wore as my own—

then her husband entered the sutured gate—

aurora borealis broken leaking light—

her rupture—

is not my fault—

O tell me oh—

tell me how to keep sun from spilling—

from all my man-made seams—

The woman’s well-being

born to be split plum skinned—


maker let me retell the story—

as it should have been a girl comes to your office—

and leaves as split as she’s come she isn’t—

punished for the gasping birth in her arms—

seeks permission from no one for her mother wound—

what her womb dares to do—

O unwed me from this stitch and tremor—

O tight O tight O terror—

torn there where my thread unthatched—

will improve the woman’s well-being

will improve the woman’s

well-being— will improve the woman

say honor, say horror—

I do I do I do I do—

Reproduced from Some Are Always Hungry by Jihyun Yun by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 2020 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.