The stream-of-consciousness style of South Korean poet Cho Soo-Hyoung encapsulates the very presentness of the speaker in the moment-by-moment progression of time as his mother declines. The mundanity of these moments – breathing, tapping fingers – are yet the most important as they are the final shared experiences which he refuses to surrender to time or memory.⁣

lim jong (deathbed)

by Cho Soo-Hyoung

far later than the evening dark night dark room wicked to even lift an eyelid her dried lips nose to breathe abandoned breathing through mouth huff huff

fingers flicking morse code plop plop signal to heaven or signal to me plop plop

having been tired and tiny to the tiniest beside her I put my body I just hold hr hands there is only breathing and sound in the dark room huff huff then even the sound stops

closing her mouth and I say now you are relaxed you will be more relaxed there

goodbye mom

neighbours sound asleep so I hold the sound of my tears was my body wet by water leaking from an eye I quietly cover the body with bedclothes and lie down next to her her breathing silent for my sleep

tonight stay with me mom

*translated by Sungmin Joe Nowon