Snow Falls on the Subway by Yoon Zelim

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

The Han River, photographed by Kim Jaegon

Snow Falls on the Subway by Yoon Zelim

To cross the river
the subway rises above ground
An ajumma[1] sits silently
nudging her companion’s side to say
the snow is falling
An old man in the next seat shakes his grandson
whose eyes are half closed
and points outside the window with a part of his finger missing
the snow is falling
A young man and woman who have been standing sullenly
turn to look at each other
the snow is falling
A red-haired girl who sits reading a comic book
swiftly pulls out her cell phone
the snow is falling

Snow is falling on the Han River[2]
Snow is falling on the subway
All are grateful
when the subway comes above ground momentarily

지하철에 눈이 내린다/ 윤제림

강을 건너느라
지하철이 지상으로 올라섰을 때
말없이 앉아 있던 아줌마 하나가
동행의 옆구리를 찌르며 말한다
눈 온다
옆자리의 노인이 반쯤 감은 눈으로 앉아 있던 손자를 흔들며
손가락 마디 하나가 없는 손으로
차창 밖을 가리킨다
눈 온다
시무룩한 표정으로 서 있던 젊은 남녀가
얼굴을 마주 본다
눈 온다
만화책을 읽고 앉았던 빨간 머리 계집애가
재빨리 핸드폰을 꺼내든다
눈 온다

한강에 눈이 내린다
지하철에 눈이 내린다
지하철이 가끔씩 지상으로 올라서 주는 것은
고마운 일이다

(Originally published in _list: Books from Korea, Vol. 9 (Autumn 2010)

Dawn on the Han River, painted by Kang Jang-won


[1] A common Korean term for a middle-aged married woman

[2] A river that runs through Seoul

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