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“Us, Earth” by Jo Si-hyun


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“나를 묻어줘.” 
그게 안나가 남긴 유언이었다.
“Please bury me.” 
Those were Anna’s last words.

인간의 몸이 썩지 않는다는 사실이 공식적으로 발표된 것은 2047년의 일이었다.
It was in the year 2047 when it was officially announced that human bodies no longer decomposed. 

썩지 않는 물고기나 새, 반려동물에 대한 보고는 꾸준히 있었지만
야생동물의 개체수가 확연히 줄어든 탓에 
줄곧 예외적인 사태로만 여겨지던 상황이었다.
하지만 파리 인근의 매립지에서 방사능 피폭 수준의 심각한 토질오염이 발견되면서
최근 몇 년간 매장된 인간들이 조금도 썩지 않았다는 사실이 알려지자
더 이상 사태를 외면할 수 없는 지경에 이르렀다.
그렇다면 죽은 인간의 몸을 이제 무엇으로 분류해야 하는가.
There has been a steady stream of reports about the fish, birds and pets that don’t decay, but they were considered just a few anomalies as the number of wild creatures had fallen dramatically. But it became impossible to ignore the problem when the news of buried human bodies remaining intact was released and soil pollution as serious as radiation exposure was reported at a landfill near Paris. 
Then what should human bodies be classified as?

# Interview with literary critic Jeon So-yeong
We have to think about the title of this story, “Us, Earth.” The title points to the fact that all of us, not only this generation but also future generations, have to think about the crises facing Earth and take responsibility for them.

“너에게 내가 쓰레기로 남는 건 싫어.” 
“I don’t want to become waste to you.” 

너는 쓰레기가 아니야, 그렇게 말하고 싶었다.
왜 목소리가 나오는 않는 건지, 스스로도 이해할 수 없었다.
I wanted to tell her that she is not waste. But I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t make a sound.

“있잖아, 여리야. 나를 묻어줘.” 
“Yeo-ri, please bury me.” 

안나가 이렇게 비상식적이고 이기적인 말을 할 거라고는 상상도 못했다.
그런 욕망이 어디서 나왔는지도 알 수 없었다.
I never imagined that Anna would say something so absurd and selfish. I couldn’t fathom where that desire came from.

“네가 나를 생각했으면 해.  잊지 않았으면.  찾아왔으면.  기억해 줬으면.” 
“I hope you think about me, not forget about me. I hope you visit me, remember me.” 

Jo Si-hyun
Debuted by winning Literature and Practices’ New Writer’s Award with “Oriental Garden” in 2018
Selected as one of eight rising artists by ARKO Creative Academy in 2020

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