Monica Youn

1 E I X

103 Korean Martyrs

Where was it that we went that night?
That long, low building: floodlights
rimmed in lavender, the moon ringed
in rose. I would rather, then, have stayed

outside, where spiderwebs glowed
like jellyfish in the damp yew hedges,
where the paths were chalky pebbles
set with giant stepping stones.

But the film was starting. In the air-
conditioned dark, a crowd of strangers,
strange families (not from our church)
in rows of metal folding chairs to see

Ersatz Ignatz

The clockwork saguaros sprout extra faces like planaria stroked by
a razor. Chug

say the sparrows, emitting fluffs of steam. Chug chug say the piston-powered
ground squirrels.

The tumbleweeds circle on retrofitted tracks, but the blue pasteboard welkin
is much dented by little winds.

The yuccas pulse softly under the grow-light sconces.

Here is the door he will paint on the rock.

Here is the glass floor of the cliff.

Ignatz Domesticus

Then one day she noticed the forest had begun to bleed into her waking life.

There were curved metal plates on the trees to see around corners.

She thought to brush her hand against his thigh.

She thought to trace the seam of his jeans with her thumbnail.

The supersaturated blues were beginning to pixillate around the edges, to
become a kind of grammar.

She placed a saucer of water under her lamp and counted mosquitoes as
they drowned.

X as a Function of Distance from Ignatz

(she opens the door)
(he is twelve inches
away) her fingers

still splayed across the
battened-down brass latch
of his sternum (she

closes the door) (he
is eight feet away)
her palm skids down the

banister clings to
the fluted globe of
the finial (he

is twenty-eight feet
away) (she opens
the door) the black air

is fast flowing and
cold (she closes the
door) she clutches her

thin intimacy
tight under her chin
and trips down the steps