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Jack Jung

I’m waiting for the next version

Of my personality, the one no longer

In awe, the way I was the last time we spoke

When you were at the base of the highest mountains

Of this world—this world where there are no words to describe

The poems you texted me, the ones I asked for

You to keep to yourself. But you still pushed the lines

From your black mirror to mine,

A method too cutting-edge for my heart.

Moments before they arrived something even more

Miraculous had happened: the photographs

Of your window with a view of jumbled rooftops

Connected by what seemed like laundry lines

Adorned with flags of many nations

Almost fully swallowed up by grey mist

Brightening my screen, hiding my reflection.

If we could have stayed on the line longer

Without the drama—of how I was fooled into reading

An ex-lover’s love with a new lover—we could have

Pretended to be oblivious to what happened

And I would have told you everything

About a theory one of my teachers had

To explain the mountains you were living under.

He believed the highest peak

Was the uppermost reach of an ancient civilization,

A structure buried beneath forever snow,

A pyramid without a signature,

The strongest triangle. Pointing at something like

When I pointed out Sirius to you the night

We lay flat next to each other in the middle

Of an asphalt pavement that was so freshly made

That no lines had yet been drawn, and I—

I was trying to be strong.

Like how I am trying now to believe

That this is not about the poems

I got from someone who wrote them

For someone else.

No one ever made it down from the peak

After the mist swallowed them, taking the star

Of their return from their eyes.

Perhaps the ancients made the words

I needed but they kept them to themselves

Like how the mountaintops

Hid from the frames of your window.

About the Author

Jack Jung is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. His translations of Korean poet Yi Sang’s poetry and prose are published in Yi Sang: Selected Works by Wave Books. He currently teaches at Davidson College.

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