Fall 2018Poetry

“Benediction as Prey and Predator” – Jihyun Yun

Benediction as Prey and Predator

1. Kelp

Therefore, we resign ourselves
to sewage, salvage not even
our bodies. Tender dark tendrils,
bitter with ship spume, oil,
miscellaneous waste. O God,
O amoebic mouth, that eats us,
we howl without sound
into waters warmed
beyond permission. Filthy
beyond reason. A herd
of urchin and their wrecking
hunger trespass us
from colder waters.
We, nourishment—
We, prone prey—
The days stretch forth without
conviction, and wherefore
do the freighters and cockleshells
spill grease? What is granted
to a dying breed? Deliver us,
as these waters heat,
as we ripen towards swan-song.
Ropes of us lashed to a sea
-bed we must leave
to live, but cannot.
we die              we die
the toothen eye of the urchin
watching. No,              gnawing—

2. Urchin

Because what is fed
is guilty           and what is hungry
is monstrous let us beg
forgiveness for all things done
our vice                       our appetite
the audacity to live
to the music of your detriment
for the plunder of your waters
absolution                     absolution
sinuous and sweet
your forests                  our foraging
the bells that call in our hunger
forgive us
we are only our teeth
only vacuous and meat
we eat and they name us
invasive                  the lanterns
of our mouths illuminate
your extinction
as the waters rise                      heat
sustains our progeny
we too, did not ask for this
and yet—
like the seabed we impinge upon
may we have no comfort
splinter our spines
that we may not wander
eviscerate our bodies
that we may not crave
as the days stretch forth
barren by the bodies of us
may no living thing
spare mercy


Author Bio: Jihyun Yun is a Korean-American poet currently residing in Ann Arbor. She received her MFA from New York University in 2016, and a Fulbright Junior Research Fellowship in 2017. A Best of the Net, Best New Poets and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, New Delta Review, Western Humanities and elsewhere. Further information can be found of Jihyunyun.com

The author: Mike Robbins