Ra Heeduk translated by Mirae Yang

Never, Never Again

Tore open the door of your place
As you were no longer inside

What would have been the password of your life?
No response came as you were no longer a tenant of this world
A locksmith was called in to help me inside

Shoes placed as if to walk away at any moment
Dishes scattered about the table
Clothes hung on a drying rack
Plants dried out and dead in pots
Books and notebooks laid on your desk

The kneeling objects
That can never be contaminated nor purified again

The chair that can never sit you on itself again
The bed that can never lay you on itself again
The blanket that can never cover you with itself again
The mirror that can never reflect you on itself again
The key that can never lock you with itself again
The unfinished letter that can’t be put into a mailbox, ever again

Never, never again—only those words hovered helplessly in the air

Above all else, this Sunday without you
Will never be repeated again
Even if those dried plants blossom again, never

다시, 다시는

문을 뜯고 네가 살던 집에 들어갔다
문을 열어줄 네가 없기에

네 삶의 비밀번호는 무엇이었을까
더 이상 세상에 세 들어 살지 않는 너는 대답이 없고
열쇠공의 손을 빌려 너의 집에 들어갔다

금방이라도 걸어 나갈 것 같은 신발들
식탁 위에 흩어져 있는 접시들
건조대에 널려 있는 빨래들
화분 속 말라버린 화초들
책상 위에 놓인 책과 노트들

다시 더러워질 수도 깨끗해질 수도 없는,
무릎 꿇고 있는 물건들

다시, 너를 앉힐 수 없는 의자
다시, 너를 눕힐 수 없는 침대
다시, 너를 덮을 수 없는 담요
다시, 너를 비출 수 없는 거울
다시, 너를 가둘 수 없는 열쇠
다시, 우체통에 던져질 수 없는, 쓰다 만 편지

다시, 다시는, 이 말만이 무력하게 허공을 맴돌았다

무엇보다도 네가 없는 이 일요일은
다시, 반복되지 않을 것이다
저 말라버린 화초가 다시, 꽃을 피운다 해도

Ra Heeduk is a poet and professor of creative writing at Seoul National University of Science and Technology. She made her debut when her poem “To the Root” won the Joongang Ilbo Spring Literary Contest in 1989. She has authored nine poetry collections, including To the Root (1991)A Disappeared Palm (2004), When Words Gallop Back to Me (2014), To Her (2015), and File Name: Lyric Poetry (2018), three essay collections, and two volumes of literary criticism. Her collections in translation include Scale & Stairs (2006)What is Darkening (2007), Wild Apple (2011), and Le ver à soie marqué d’un point noir (2017). She has received numerous literary awards, including Kim Su-young Literary Award, Contemporary Literature Prize, Lee San Literary Prize, the Sowol Poetry Award, and Midang Literary Award. “Never, Never Again” is featured in her seventh collection When Words Gallop Back to Me.

Mirae Yang earned her MA in English/Korean Translation from Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. She has received LTI Korea translation grants to translate Korean poet Heeduk Ra’s poetry collection When Words Gallop Back to Me, Korean poet Shim Bo-seon’s Today, I’m Not So Sure, and Korean writer Hwang Jungeun’s collection of short stories Into the World of Passi. She also translated Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie into Korean.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.