The Only Question

By | 13 May 2024

First published in Korean in Hwanghae Review, vol. 121

He speaks back:
– Dead or Alive,
differences, wife, not.
Son or God, I am yours.

—Joseph Brodsky, ‘Still Life’

Wooden crosses
fastened into the top of sand dunes
like God’s red toothpicks.

I only had one question
for the woman.

From that place
why didn’t you run? Maria
could do nothing, just stand and watch.

Forever waiting
arms outstretched
until pain’s weight in a human shape
forces your soul to collapse……

While I watched
and pushed helplessness’s big head out from between my two legs
I asked her the question.

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