Robyn performs on stage at Alexandra Palace on April 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo: Matthew Baker/Getty Images)

The Friday Poem: Send to Robyn Immediately, by Joanna Cho

A new poem by recent IIML graduate Joanna Cho.

Send to Robyn Immediately

On Thursdays I clean
for a woman who looks like Robyn. I love Robyn!
She’s so sexy, in a way that I’m working on, you know, like she
is in tune with her body…

Robyn’s dance moves
are as smooth as eye cream
even though her limbs are reckless, like jaywalking
through a six-lane motorway
on a Saturday night in Seoul.

I’ve tried to dance like Robyn. I’ve writhed
on the floor, pulling an elbow to the light,
folding a knee into a fast-beating chest, but

I’m much better at folding origami,
although I can only fold a swan

and when I clean, too, there is a method
and a limit to it. Sometimes I worry this habit of sanitising
seeps into other areas of my life… I am so efficient…

The woman I clean for pays me for three hours
but I usually finish in two. I spend the remaining time
trying to dance like Robyn, all alone in that big house,
neck rotating in the opposite direction to the waist—
a plastic capsule with a toy inside.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master something,
and if that’s true, according to my maths, it’ll take me roughly
100 years to dance like Robyn.
I’m no fool. I know it’s a long commitment
and I could practise and practise and still be no good but

still, my body pulses and grinds—
an insinkerator searching for the perfect routine.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again in March 2021.

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