Sometime ago, not long after we opened the guesthouse a Korean American fella & two women he was working with visited me. They were working on an art project to raise awareness & address the horror experienced by comfort women during the Japanese occupation of Korea. They told me a little about what they went through.
Our cleaner always says Jeju women depress him because they never smile, i always have to explain that it is possibly due to having endured some atrocious episode in their young lives, which they have been unable to shake.
i don’t think i can write such horror, but recently this poem appeared. One of those poems that just happens.
Comfort Girl Soliloquy
Reflected in the pools of your eyes, smoke
billowing out the window of your burning home.
Your mother pleading with them to take me instead,
but they like unripe teens with soft, lissome hands.
Your struggling is useless against arms sent to war,
arms flexible & sinewy as bamboo roots.
In a tiny cell, one filthy mattress, you wait… & then
a boy strolls in, drops his trousers— you’ve never seen
one before; he jams it in, hard & dry, as if using a jail
key to start the engine of a truck. It hurts. You don’t even snivel.
He snorts, eyes roll round his head, it stops;
leaves his seed to coalesce with hymen blood.
The next one comes, another after him, another,
The lines on your old face tell each minute of grief.