Her Name Was Jangmi

By Dasom Yang

1.

Korean for rose. She was the town lunatic.

Once, she claimed she could fly. When one

Of the kids at school accused her of lying she said:

Sometimes the desire to lie 

Is the most truthful part of you. 

 

2.

Her madness emerged in many forms:

Red poppy dress, a blade of grass 

Or a flower stem, withering quietly 

Beneath her ear, clipping

 

Her greasy bop sleek like a mussel shell

Under the moonlight. 

 

3.

Mom had a theory about her:

 

It’s something in their brains, you see.

They have water. A different kind

Than the rest of us, the kind that responds

To the moon differently. Most people just

Have a puddle. Or a brook. A lake 

If they’re lucky. But them, them’s got a whole

Ocean in their brains. Ebbs and flows

With the moon. Pulls back and lets go

As the moon waxes and wanes. When it’s

Full, they’re full. When it’s 

Away, they’re away.

 

4.

I believed her. Something watery about Jangmi,

Her smile. Spilling all over her face. Round,

Borderless. Moon-like.

 

5.

When Jangmi disappeared, the town had many

Theories. First they said it was her mother —

Her mother who sold sweet buns in a cart.

They said that at night near the bars, she sold

Something else. I didn’t know what this was but it

Sounded more valuable than buns.

© 2019 harana poetry

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