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Poetry

Taklamakan Desert

Translated from Korean

Washing her hair as the sun rises
a thighless one
pours a dipper full of sand over her hair and
lowers her head into the sand pit with a splash.
The footless one
tosses her hair in pendulum as she
rinses it out in the sand river.
This chestless,
hairless,
O, bodiless one washes her hair.
We shall never come . . . or go . . . you there . . . and
me here.
Dry strands of hair from the fallen days rise and
tumble, swaying this way and that.
From sunrise to sundown
the woman washes her hair
not even once straightening her waistless back.
She combs and caresses the ripples of the sand river.

English

Washing her hair as the sun rises
a thighless one
pours a dipper full of sand over her hair and
lowers her head into the sand pit with a splash.
The footless one
tosses her hair in pendulum as she
rinses it out in the sand river.
This chestless,
hairless,
O, bodiless one washes her hair.
We shall never come . . . or go . . . you there . . . and
me here.
Dry strands of hair from the fallen days rise and
tumble, swaying this way and that.
From sunrise to sundown
the woman washes her hair
not even once straightening her waistless back.
She combs and caresses the ripples of the sand river.

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