Kyongjoo Hong Ryou (Ph.D., U of Utah) teaches 20th Century British and American poetry at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul, Korea. Her poems have appeared in various magazines and journals. She is also the recipient of the 1998 Larry Levis Poetry Prize.
To a Cross Country Skier
As if guided by the dowser's forked wood,
the inverted `Y' that renders our eyes
irrelevant, we're led by the pure weight
of what? Galileo will circle around
Jupiter and its sixteen moons now
NASA declares via NPR as the sky opens
suddenly—millions of inferences,
falling, fluttering and alive—crowded.
What hands of nature come down
deceiving us to dream life. Beyond
the blossoming of the air, the world
is overwhelmed by the descent of deep
wintering sleep, the storm erasing
you repeatedly. I bought a picture once
at a garage sale for a quarter, black
and white, peeling at the corners—a child
was pulling his sled through the snow, his bent
shoulders groping, his head slightly askew.
At night, glistening with moonlight, he seemed too
real, his effort, Yes, unreasonable,
over my bed, his will, with and against
the snow, abstracting the woods behind him.
He would have pulled up the stars on his heels
or walked right off the edges to sustain
the earth's orbicular body, if that
had been his end. Again you push yourself,
the impending dark, like brushing off some
light thing, your smallness exaggerated
by the blank hills of the golf-course, the tracks
left behind gathering the falling sighs.