Issue No. 4 || CERTAINTY
I am Cleopatra
Translated from the author’s diary, which was originally written in Korean
December 15, 2021
MY NAME IS Cleopatra. If someone orders me killed, they might do it for the soil; it becomes a worry of a rogue, and indecisive sky. The pressure is the resolve of the tongue, teeth and guts. Say I were to become a dog, how would I kill myself. Through what route. The academy of Greco-Roman wisdom, or through the freeing of neon city lights. I am still young, but not messing around, either.
Mother is laundering. There was no such thing as purple then. Mother only did the laundry. Beneath the shade, in that pink and former colonial prison of an apartment, my mother lifts Father’s wet clothes. I am a bitch called Hejin cursing around that she is Cleopatra.
“Crazy bitch,” my mother murmured to me. In last night’s black sky, fiery stars all countless tadak tadak in their high place, one of them resembled a flying plane, or so says my husband Marcus Antonius, ruminating on all the hills of this kingdom.
I am Cleopatra. The fields of Egypt provoke mortals to forget their suffering and return to Earth what she’s due: pleasure. Hold your odyssey of pain; we speak so many languages at once.
Kismet/ Kismet/ will you kiss me O Egypt?
There’s a thief out on the move.
JULIE MOON (she/her) is a South Korean writer and translator based in Brooklyn, where she teaches high school English and history. A graduate of the Nonfiction and Literary Translation MFA at Columbia University, where she was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in English, she is a former Iowa Arts Fellow. She is the winner of an audio prize from The Missouri Review, and her essays and translations have been published in Public Books, Catapult, Arkansas International, The Rumpus, and more.