2 Poems by Dongho Cha


Photograph by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

The Girl
Bar the door! However, when he was hollering these
words, hurrying himself from pillar to post here, the
door was being opened half-widely. The girl moved
forward, inching towards the door, wondering why
she was looking outside, instead of inside, through
the door from here the place where she had been kept
all day long. It was like going through a damp and
dark cave, similar to the old underground chamber,
which had once been a shelter for her and her little
brother during the war. And in time, the girl’s oval
shaped fingertips, feeling the fresh air from outside,
almost arrived at the door. The door was yet unclosed,
but right before it there was a cement-block barrier,
half white and half yellow, touched and tapped by the
girl’s hands, bumped and sweated. The girl, at this
precise moment, was beginning to be dragged and
pulled backward, and her belly was banded and her
whole body was contracted when he irritated her on
the back of her neck with his stun gun. Why all this
happen to me now?, hollered the girl over the door.
The Refugee
Forced from home,
he was sent
to a rangy, narrow chamber.
On the very day
he was brought
here, the gas leaked
out of a crack
between hard yellowed brick
and soft dark red carpet.
No sound was
to be heard from within
the room, but
he heard really
a burring sound
that frightened and
repelled him. And
at that moment,
his head was blown off,
and arched into
the rear of the room, but
not high enough
to touch the ceiling.
It was going
deep into the corner,
while in fact
it was flying
out of the room.
What can I do
when this happens,
so frustrated
he said to himself.
The empty chamber
waits for the next person
who will take this
as his new home. You’d
never, never ever,
wish this to happen
to anyone, right?
Dongho Cha Head Shot
Dongho Cha, a PhD candidate in English at the University of Illinois, Chicago, is completing a dissertation entitled “The Useful Koreans: Labor and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Korean and Korean-American Literature.” He has written about Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Se-hui Cho, race & class dialectics, global capitalism, modernist poetics, world literature discourses, and other subjects for Modern Language Note, Philosophy and Literature and CLC: Dongho Cha | University of Illinois at Chicago – Academia.edu

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