Brain inside the test tube is still alive
Looks like it’s writing poetry
It’s plunging into a blurry image
It’s opening the gate to grandparents’ house like a wind
The instant it runs into the embrace of dead grandmother
its missing eyes open
and a black stick hallucinated by
its missing body whacks its head
Brain inside the test tube is hurting
You’re outside of you
Your outside hurts
Missing toes hurt
Scattered rooms hurt, my heart hurts
Brain inside the test tube scratches its body all over with its ten fingers
scratches till the skin breaks
Brain inside the test tube takes off
It rides the subway, rides the bus, takes a cab
exits the test tube
It departs swaying swaying
like a head inside the plastic bag of a serial killer
I want to tell you, tell you everything
but my mouth stays shut
my hands tremble
Where did my shoes go?
Roots of the dark-blue night descend into the test tube
Everyone has left the lab
Brain inside the test tube mutters
Whitely white monster inside me
has a blue nightdress on
You’re transparent like water
but you’re fatal like the blue saliva of a poisonous snake
Brain inside the test tube is bystander’s brain, survivor’s brain
Brain inside the test tube always wants to bash its head against the wall and cry
Brain submerged in formalin river sways back and forth
An obscure place like this poem
An ambiguous place like this poem
A disinfected place like this poem
Brain inside the test tube puts on its hat and thinks intently
Why does the outside always hurt?
Why do the missing feet hurt?
Why does the riverbed that props up the feet hurt?
Someone who has set himself on fire stands at the rail of a bridge
Brain inside the test tube is screaming
Brain inside the test tube is going mad
What am I to do?
What can I do to forget all this?
This poem is one of the 49 poems that make up a long poem called “Autobiography of Death.” Each poem represents a day in the 49 days during which spirit roams about after departing from the body at death. Kim says she couldn’t help writing these 49 poems because there were so many unfortunate deaths in South Korea the past few years.