Suji Kwock Kim

Fugue & Re­mains of the Day

The London Magazine - - CONTENTS - Suji Kwock Kim

(from the Latin “fuga” => “fu­gare” (to chase) and “fugere” (to flee)

Out of al­bu­men and blood, out of am­ni­otic brine, pla­cen­tal sea-swell, trough, salt-spume and foam,

you came to us in­fin­itely far, lit­tle trav­eler, from the other world — skull-keel and heel-hull sock­eted to pelvic cra­dle,

rib-rig­ging, bowsprit-spine, drift­wood-bone, the ship of you scud­ding wave af­ter wave of what-might-never-have-been.

Mem­ory, stay faith­ful to this mo­ment, which will never re­turn: may I never for­get when we first saw you, there on the other side,

still fish-gilled, wa­ter-lunged, your eel­grass-hair and sea­horse-skele­ton float­ing in the sono­gram screen

like a ghost from to­mor­row, moth-breath quick­sil­ver in snowy pix­els, fists in sleep-twitch,

not yet alive but not not, you who were and were not,

a thun­der of blood­beats su­tured in green jags on the ul­tra­sound ma­chine like hooves gal­lop­ing from eter­nity to time,

feet kick­ing bone-creel and womb-wall, while we waited, never to waken in that world again,

the world without the shadow of your death, with no you or not-you, no is or was or might-have-been or never-were.

May I never for­get when we first saw you in your afterlife which was life,

soaked ot­ter-pelt and swan-down crown­ing, face cauled in blood and mu­cus-mud, eyes sol­dered shut,

wet birth-cord root­ing you from one world to the next, you who might not have lived, might never have been born, like all the oth­ers,

as we looked at ev­ery pock and crook of your skull, ev­ery clot­ted hair, seal-slick on your blue-black scalp,

ev­ery lash, ev­ery nail, ev­ery pore, ev­ery breath, with so much won­der that won­der is not the word —

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