a poem by Na Hee-Deok
Let’s stay in the darkness a while longer, you said.
We don’t know if this is love, you thought.
But the moment your body reached my hand
I knew it was from fear.
You, a dry fish lying on the ground
I rubbed my body not to freeze to death;
you spit to wet your scales.
Your scales shone briefly in the darkness,
and there was no reason for you to know my fears.
Me, fearing a growing light like water
streaming into darkness and drenching it;
you, continuing to spit onto your scales.
A long time after, I stared at the dry redfin on the worn table.
It was my first time seeing one, yet I knew you at first sight. Knew you
because they say redfin are caught on autumn evenings upstream beneath the Namdae ice.
But now, scales are broken and once shining eyes are dimmed.
On the old the table splashed in autumn light, the redfins are without words.