Retrograde

Jisoo Yoon

Seoul, Korea

Korea International School

Poetry

When the faintly sighing autumn skies

Lament the steady flight of time

I tilt my head upwards in a sunken daze

And sigh back.


They say the universe will end in

A pot-stew of radiation; with

No distinctions, beginnings or ends,

No sense, no sophistication.

That the perpetual decay of order

Is what points time’s arrow.

They do love making it sound so inevitable.


We fumble with our clockwork, reading

Numbers but not time.

The afternoon clouds creep so silently.


It is only when they slide a

Grinning shadow over me that I

Wake from my trance— and wasn’t that a time

Leap? And wasn’t that retrograde, when

Grandpa cried like a baby?

Wasn’t that a

Pause when we kissed, a step’s delay

To the radiation-stew apocalypse?


I still sleep best all curled up.

Wondering where the evening went

Or summer or my whole swift life.

And if the world is coming to a standstill someday,

It doesn’t feel like that at all,

No, mama, nuh no.


EDITORIAL PRAISE

Each stanza has a delightful surprise in language, or a line that seems to come with a mid-conversation gentle tap from a friend, or a whisper meant only for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jisoo Hope Yoon is a 18-year-old writer based in the Bay Area. She graduated from Korea International School in 2019—she is continuing her studies at Stanford University. While she loves to write fiction and poetry, the best use of her words is when she writes a letter.