The peeling (껍질)

By | 22 May 2011

Your peripheries don’t rest easily, expanding
to embrace the imposing strips of fallen bark
that gather all the russet pigments of carmine
and leaf mould with the mealy beige of new

skins, uneven pieces from an impossible jigsaw
circling the paled trunk. The stripped husks
round their winglike corners, your edge-skin
forming part of the peeled rind, till mosquitoes

find the warm-blooded animal that sits too still.
The night-thrum of the bush is quiet, a tremble
that tinkers with the background humming
of the mind, that intensifies closer to the creek

in a skirling crescendo, smudging the margins further.
You’d help unravel the softened rinds: from under
one piece scuttles the light solidity of the huntsman
spider, the shining length of a dark worm with

its singular white stripe. The bark-pieces resist
preservation, the collection of stylish scribblings:
they dry too soon and curl protectively into coils
that crack when unfurled, that collude in your edging.

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