an online showcase curated by Maya Kóvskaya



by Ian Haight



At the streambed, we take our shoes off,
and slowly sink in the mud. A cement
walk before the museum lines the stream.
My children quiet in the stream. Swallows skim
for water striders near the surface. Minnows
have gone, leaving leeches, too timid to bite.

More than a thousand years ago, loaded
with alabaster, indigo, and smooth
Buddhas of sandalwood, a princess came
from India. She lived on a plain
the other side of a nearby hill.
Her new country fabricated war
by forging iron blades, barding, and armor
for a thousand-mile radius. She must
have been worth the language she had to learn,
her new land, and people. Who would know
how dark her skin was or round her eyes—all
the shrines portray her as Korean. The king
married no other after her.
who made the king’s spurs must have let their young
daughters and sons in the stream water,
let them throw dandelion blossoms,
and observe how things float, or feel the sand
sink their feet deep. They saw the hill’s steep rise
from the stream’s tall cattails, or farther off,
peaks from the Yang Sang Range line the valley.

Celadon potters live beyond the range,
as artisans always have. There, hardwood oak
for the kilns’ fires, lacing streams of the right
mineral water to soften the mountains’
clay—the clay, kept in urns for the cool
proper cast by tender moist hands, those hands
sensing thicknesses, knowing when and how to cease
caressing the will-be vessel in time
with the kick-turned stone wheel creaking a pace
to the tune of smoothing breaths and the artist’s
eyes, practiced in valleys for the Queen
from India, as it was before she came,
as it will be when my children walk
this city as old men, watching the stream
we now walk, how it courses to the Nakdong River.



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