by Chungmi Kim

I painted a phoenix in bright colors
cut it in nine pieces and cooked it
in a pot at the mountaintop.
I stirred it as if cranking reels of
a movie. Unraveled were a series
of faces in mosaic.

Kurosawa appeared. He asked me
what my story was about.
Tongue-tied, I could not answer.
He handed me a token with a silvery
eagle engraved, ready to fly.

How real I thought everything was
in my dream!

In my waking hour, I see
the remnant of the war between
my head and heart.

Now in cease-fire, my chest is filled
with the fresh breeze of serenity.
I begin to breathe gently as my story
is unraveled like in a movie.

No longer haunted, my love of God soars
as I see my guardian angel smile
in the clear blue sky, transforming to
one gigantic phoenix.

My wandering in the wilderness of
the mind has taught me a little wisdom.
I believe my dreams are real
as my life is a dream.

Source: Glacier Lily by Chungmi Kim (Red Hen Press, 2004), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet/playwright Chungmi Kim is the author of  Chungmi—Seleceted Poems and Glacier Lily (Red Hen Press).  Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies, journals and newspapers, including Making Waves, Between Ourselves, Grand Passion, Surfacing Sadness, Amerasia Journal, KoreAm Journal, Poetry Seattle, on the spoken word CD, “The Verdict and the Violence,” and in a book, Selected Poems by Three Korean-American Poets. One of the poets chosen for the Poetry Society of America’s Poetry In Motion LA ’98-’99, she has given numerous readings and performances of her work, including at San Francisco Poetry Festival, KPFK Radio, KCET-TV, Beyond Baroque, Los Angeles Poetry Festival, and Library of Congress.  Her awards include the first place Open Door Writing Award for her screenplay, “The Dandelion,” from the Writers Guild Foundation, West, and Grand Prize for her play, “The Comfort Women,” at the 1995 USC One-Act Play Festival. As Co-Producer of Korea, a one-hour documentary for KCBS-TV, she received  a Certificate of Merit from Associated Press and an Emmy nomination.