Gravida IV


sleep of the apples
under the trees that bore them
sweet smell of decay
I still dream of them
the luminous ones
the few short weeks I
carried each, one for seven,
the other for six
once I wondered how
deadness can ripen
like a fruit but then
I understood and then how
I wished I didn’t
I am ripening
again, I am not
a pomegranate,
the fruit that some say grew on
the tree of knowledge
Persephone’s fall
might she have known what
she was doing when
she ate those six or seven
seeds, their sweet redness
bound up tightly in
bitter white membranes
I am ripening
but I do not know for how long
I do not know if
it’s winter inside
me or if it’s spring

Hyejung Kook’s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in Prairie Schooner, wildness, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Verse Daily, the Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. Other works include an essay in The Critical Flame and Flight, a chamber opera libretto. She is a Fulbright grantee and a Kundiman fellow.