The Bike Thief

Written by and translated from Korean by Ihlwha Choi

Courtesy: Creative Commons
It disappeared leaving a figure of its own in a picture.

While stealing a glance of me riding a bike, he had an eye on it guessing that it might be a gold-egg laying hen.

He would cut the iron chain of the bike on a piece of cake.

The power of habit pushed away the conscience without any mercy with blind greed.

After kidnapping my child-like bike, he might eat Jajangmyeon like a pig beside the cycle shedding tears.

When I yielded to despair after I had a fit of rage, slowly, I began to pity the thief.

When I said the thief was so pitiful, my seven-year-old daughter looked up to me as if she did not understand me.


Eight years have passed.

The bike might have aged and frequently be suffering from various geriatric diseases.

Maybe there are many black spots on its face and its two legs might now frequently collapse.

After hard labor of ten years, it might be covered all over with wounds and be ill in bed under the corner of a fence somewhere.

On the face of the thief, several wrinkles would newly appear here and there.

At midnight, under the starlight, my bike would whisper its heartbroken heart to the neighbour bike.

The neighbour listening to his comrade would also burst out in tears sympathising with his friend's old master.

If I regain the bike, I will forgive him and have supper together.

But I moved to the other village. I revisit very rarely.

When I pass by the old village, one unhappy memory recurs with many other happy ones.

Ihlwha Choi is a South Korean poet. He has published multiple poetry collections, such as Until the Time When Our Love will FlourishThe Colour of TimeHis Song and The Last Rehearsal.



Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles

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