I had to go see a
Hanging on one of its branches
Was a fruit with a flower on it upside down.
If fruits only come after flowers,
Or if flowers only come after fruits, then
A flower blossoming on a fruit
Like a fabric breaking out of a shell
Is not in the same flow of Time
In which I decided to go out
Before the end of a season and found
A fruit that could not have waited
For petals to wither first,
The flower that could not let the fruit bend
Branch’s arc alone. Lowering to be possible
For me to catch with one hand
That I may push my other in as a flower
Flowers while a fruit forms, or
A fruit forms a flower before it’s full,
Until arriving with an open palm
At the warm rotting core.
Jack Jung is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. He was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States. He received his BA in English from Harvard, and an MA in Korean Language and Literature from Seoul National University. His translations of Korean poet Yi Sang’s poetry and prose are published in Yi Sang: Selected Works by Wave Books. He is the American Literary Translation Association’s 2021 Emerging Translator Mentorship Program Mentor for Korean poetry. He currently teaches Korean poetry translation at Literature Translation Institute of Korea.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan