Human skull reaches adult size by age eight
What we once called vocal chords we now call folds
Science, like Adam, names and then—upon new intelligence—renames
Learn quickly that all cries are not musical (60).
The poem continues in this vein, exploring different aspects of transnational adoption. Strikingly, Shin’s folding together of various “vocal chords” and registers creates a text that cries and sings, humanizes and intellectualizes.
Skirt Full of Black is a ghostly carriage of open vocal folds. Within these folds, Shin exposes the structural oppressions of women and
adoptees in a Korean and global context, while re-defining and re-articulating the possibilities of both “roles.” In addition, Skirt Full of Black is a poetic vestibule of language exploration that presents a vibrant vocabulary of words and forms. Shin’s work not only bears witness to the personal and collective experience of the Korean diaspora, but it also provides a shelter for the expression of such difficult experience.