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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Poem: 105 words [R]
By Tanya Ko Hong

Suk Su Dong

 
Suk means rock, Su means water, and Dong means town. 
Water comes down from the mountains where 
temples hide in the forests. 
Grey-gowned monks chant ghost secrets, 
tap moktak at dawn. 

Kun Sunim, Big Monk, shaved her head, 
hid her breasts in robes and had a son. 
She rented out rooms in the temple, 
put meat in her dumplings—even pork—
but everybody bowed hop jang as she passed. 

Near mountain temples, statues 
of men and women offer their genitals 
to childless couples. People come 
to bow, touch statues’ songgi, and wait 
for life to grow.


Footnote:

hop jang: with hands pressed together


—Published previously in The War Still Within: Poems on the Korean Diaspora, available from KYSO Flash Press (November, 2019); appears here with author’s permission.

See also the book review by Alexandra Umlas in Cultural Weekly (11 March 2020).

 
 
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