Iowa Writes

It Was Just a Brief Flash

In the dream
I couldn't find the entrance
Like a leaf swaying outside the window
It was a brief flash

A peony was printed on a wall I've seen before
The vines constantly curving over and over

I went there to rent a room
And then I followed a man shuffling in his slippers
I simply stepped inside

Like a goldfish moving dreamily in its bowl
I paced for a short time

I've been told I lived with him for dozens of years
He is not my husband
Not my father
Not my son

Like a leaf outside the window,
Someone was
Waving his hands
It was just a brief flash

Translated from the Korean by Melissa Dickey

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


Choi Jeong Rye has published four books of poetry. In 2007, she received Korea's prestigious Modern Literature Award. Choi participated in the University of Iowa's International Writing Program in 2006. "It Was Just a Brief Flash" first appeared in The Iowa Review's Fall 2007 issue.

International Writing Program

This page was first displayed
on December 21, 2007

Find us on Facebook