Cutting off a Finger

My mother's finger was cut off
by a slamming door.


Or should I say that she stuck her finger in it
to stop the slicing wind.


Honey, don't shiver, just
feed the hungry wind this bloody piece of meat.


At the sight of the flame ignited by the blood,
the coyotes outside the door ran away.


O my mother pacing and pacing,
clutching her pale stiffening finger like a candle.


Translation of "Danjee." Copyright Ra Heeduk. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2007 by Won-Chun Kim and Christopher Merrill. All rights reserved.


Read the author's "How Far Does the Light."