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The Moon Walks Over

달이 걸어오는 밤
by Heo Su-gyeong
Translated from Korean by
So J. Lee

저 달이 걸어오는 밤이 있다

달은 아스피린 같다

꿀꺽 삼키면 속이 다 환해질 것 같다


내 속이 전구알이 달린

크리스마스 무렵의 전나무같이 환해지고

그 전나무 밑에는

암소 한 마리


나는 암소를 이끌고 해변으로 간다

그 해변에 전구를 단 전나무처럼 앉아

다시 달을 바라보면


오 오, 달은 내 속에 든 통증을 다 삼키고

저 혼자 붉어져 있는데, 통증도 없이 살 수는 없잖아,

다시 그 달을 꿀꺽 삼키면

암소는 달과 함께 내 속으로 들어간다


온 세상을 다 먹일 젖을 생산할 것처럼

통증이 오고 통증은 빛 같다 그 빛은 아스피린 가루 같다

이렇게 기쁜 적이 없었다


The moon walks over tonight

The moon is like aspirin

I’d probably turn bright inside if I swallowed it


I’d turn bright inside

like a fir at Christmas time

and beneath the tree would be

a cow


I lead her to the beach

When I sit on the beach like a lit-up tree

and look at the moon again,


oh oh, the moon has swallowed all the pain inside me

and grown flushed alone, but how could I live without pain

When I swallow the moon again

the cow goes inside, too


I ache like I’m producing enough milk to feed the whole world

The pain is like light and the light is like aspirin powder

I’ve never been so happy




Heo Su-gyeong. “Dari georeooneun bam” from Cheongdongui sigan, gamjaui sigan. Seoul: Moonji, 2005.

Heo Su-gyeong (1964-2018) was a diasporic South Korean writer, translator, and archaeologist. She published two poetry collections before moving to Germany in 1992 to pursue a PhD in ancient Near Eastern archaeology. Heo continued to write award-winning poems, novels, essays, and children’s books in Korean while living in Münster. (Photo copyright Moonji publishing co., Ltd.)
So J. Lee is the translator of Lee Hyemi’s Unexpected Vanilla (Tilted Axis Press, 2020), Choi Jin-young’s To the Warm Horizon (Honford Star, 2021), and Lee Soho’s Catcalling (Open Letter Books, 2021). They also make chogwa, a quarterly e-zine featuring one Korean poem and multiple English translations.