A Poem by Oki Sogumi

Pilgrimage
 

I
 

A hand makes a motion of clench and release to mimic consonants expelling themselves during speech. 
There are many views. If I crouch and then someone topples me over. When all my muscles were ready to say. But instead the tongue splays and does not recover. Or recovers very slowly, having to gather motion. The view from there.
The people who make a living from interpreting their vision tell me it is important to know when to look. Every time I look outside, the sun disappears. 
I know that I’m doing it wrong. Language, money, etc. I shut my eyes and walk until I don’t. 
I walk and drag my heels, drag my toes. The road is made of stones that catch all the flesh. I would drag my entire body piece by piece. Instead I vowel.
Oh.
Do the same thing. But this time with horizon.
I forgot what I’m rehearsing. But go. On again. The destination is radial, and hard to fathom without seeing all points at once. 
Yeah, that series of puddles seen from an airplane and made by a glacier rubbing the earth.
Or the stream that forms when storefronts are being washed of their nighttime blood.
I’m the deflated flan in a white tee falling to my thighs. A picture of this shirt floats in the river. 
Saying how it happened is different than the genre of documentary. I ask for cotton to soak in the sockets. Wake me up when the words for this are not necessary. I keep my phone on to record the sounds while I’m gone. The collectors pecking at a foam replica of the planet, 

the click of permissions.
 



II
 

I touch the divine. I kiss the feet, I kiss the palms, I know the way a candle touches me back.
Can the divine hear me? I guess around the holy mouth. I eat, I hole through the center.
I only know one song, I sing it all the time. The cradle. The crescent. The swerving violet in wind.
I only know one star. Just kidding, I know every star. More intimate is where they are coming from.
My gauze scarf is laden with silver thread. Distortion pedal and fog machine. 
My medusa of electrical tape comes through the bodies. Her swaying. My failure to move from my spot.
I was never here at first, I felt my footsteps leave me. The concavity of abandoned structures is fun.
The veil is tears, and oh my god it tears through me, unevenly. A lathe carving a wool sweater.
In reverse, the scenes are odd because the other person disappeared. Now is remote interrogations.
I was used to being inside with glided carvings. No wonder death looks lost coming from the sky.
I was polishing the inside, I thought that was my job. But then, there were too many of us.
Too many is the good number that carries me. Every day I wake up on this desk, waiting for it.
But then, there’s that way you have to get the love. That small container. This suck does not stop me.
The divine does the same suck but makes it look strange. I’m a fool for this, I can’t look away.
Later, I’ll ask the bystanders to stop me. As if there will be a next time. As if it is that easy.
Nothing as thick as the layered hum of the organ, and the organist who bends and lifts. 
The softened jobs collapsing some more. Carrying that around. Like I said, I only know one song.
Then the question of where to live. This is still the same song, but it keeps hurting.
I have nothing to declare but detainment is common. This common is absurd, like the police.
I manage to scratch hurry. Your finger is all I have. Before fear, what was there.
Eros of the gun range, I come back peppered. I tell people, puncture for light source.
My forehead on dirt, the song is wet and pools there, hardens. The shape is a terror. The only way.
I have no discipline and only draw a mark to indicate many clouds, thunder, discomfort, carpark.
For the same reason, I prefer to take the train or crawl on my knees in a direct line. 
I don’t have a romance with time. But agree, it’s weird how much I love simple substitution.
All of this gone. All between us gone. Something else. The one song that doesn’t stop. 


Oki Sogumi was born in Seoul, South Korea as military dictatorship ended. She writes poetry and fiction, and her forthcoming speculative novella is about giant insects, migration, time travel, oceanic feelings, wellness, and both the limits and possibilities of relations like friendship. She currently resides in Philadelphia.