Sun Yung Shin’s first book of poems Skirt Full of Black (Coffee House Press) received the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry in 2008. She is the co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (South End Press) and the author of bilingual Korean/English illustrated book for children Cooper’s Lesson (Children’s Book Press). Sun Yung has taught writing at the University of Minnesota, the College of St. Catherine, the Loft Literary Center and elsewhere in the community.
Her next book of poems, Rough, and Savage, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in fall 2012.
That Came to be Split into a Plurality
That we each have a number assigned to us
Thanks be to the devil for the idea of sequence
That we each have forgotten our numbers
Thanks be to the gods for a child’s memory
That we each have a name, or three, assigned to us
Thanks be to the devil for sound marrying sense
That we each have forgotten the way to our house, apartment, farm
Thanks be to angels for the scent of chrysanthemums
That we each were the consequence of war, poverty, illness, death, despair or hope
Thanks be to each other for what we call society
That we each will be buried with the bodies of our mothers
Thanks be to the stars for the constancy of matter that cannot be destroyed
That we each will be buried with the bodies of our fathers
Thanks be to the metal that will unskin the world
— “That Came to be Split into a Plurality” in Skirt Full of Black, by Sun Yung Shin (Coffee House Press, 2007). Reprinted with permission from Coffee House Press.