Her Name Was Jangmi
By Dasom Yang
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.
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.
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.
I believed her. Something watery about Jangmi,
Her smile. Spilling all over her face. Round,
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.