Issue 27 poetry

Sea Women

by Ashley Sojin Kim

The Cancer of Roland by Rebecca Pyle
The Cancer of Roland by Rebecca Pyle

Bodies strewn across rocky soil
like freshly-pulled radishes, white

and lifeless, now buried under
nine-hole courses and honeymoon

suites with marble floors. Sparkling
knives stole through Bukchon

fifty years ago. Jeju is known
for folk culture, citrus, trees

stunted by sea winds,
and free-diving haenyeo

scouring dark underworlds
for abalone, a dying tradition

of old women who have seen
torched homes, infants’ graves,

villagers corralled into schoolyards
or fleeing to cave-studded hills,

daughters who never learned to swim.
Their seaside shelters are littered

with shellfish carcasses and bottles
of painkillers. The sea women sing of diving

with coffins on their heads.

Ashley Sojin Kim is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Florida. She received her BA in Writing Seminars from The Johns Hopkins University and is originally from Los Angeles. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Faultline Journal, RHINO Poetry, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Napkin Poetry Review.

Rebecca Pyle’s artwork appears in Hawai’i Review, Tayo Magazine, New England Review, The Menteur, Alexandria Quarterly, The HitchLit Review, JuxtaProse, Oxford Magazine, and in many other journals and reviews, sometimes on their covers. She’s a published writer, too, of poetry, essays, fiction. Rebecca lives now in Utah.