What Songs Do, by Lim SolahTranslated by Olan MunsonOh Eunkyung
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From Grotesque Weather and Good People, which was published in June by Black Ocean. Translated from the Korean.

Thinking of people
makes us avoid them.
I think we should even avoid we.

Straw spews out when we speak
and becomes a straw doll.

“You left this behind,”
she said. The girl picked up a mirror
that I’d thrown away.
I thanked her
and tried to look glad.

When I come home
I find my room crammed full
of the things I was going to leave on the curb and
the straw we spit up.

I pick off molted cicada skin
just barely hanging on to the ends of the straw.
The song shed us and ran off.
I had to survive.

I crush the emptied body
with my fingers.
Gazing down at the scene,
the song does what songs do.

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