Monologue for an Onion is a poem by Suji Kwock Kim that is separated into 10 triplets. The poem describes the chopping of a metaphorical onion. The onion is one side or one person in a rocky relationship between lovers who are struggling to find peace and balance.
The first triplet tells how someone is being emotionally hurt by their companion, the onion, and is crying (l. 1), but continues to stick with him or her, getting to know them more and more by peeling away my body, layer by layer (l. 3).
The lover continues to get closer and closer, peeling away (l. 3) the layers of his or her companion, the husks, cut flesh, all the debris of pursuit (l. 5) piling up. These elements of the onion represent the identities and walls the onion has put up in order to be accepted and to shield their hearts (l. 6). A secret core (l. 9) is beneath each layer and the seeker is on a hunt (l. 7) to get there, to see his lovers true self.
The fourth stanza begins by describing the metaphorical onion being butchered. The butcher is the core hunter, the lover wanting to know more about his or her significant other. The onion comments on the way its being treated and how the knife-wielder is unconsciously hurting what it loves the most, with its stopless knife (l. 12) as it is slashing away skin after skin (l. 13-14).
He or she is taking the wrong approach to reaching their goal, the core; this is the overall statement of triplets five through seven. The only progress shown are ruins and tears (l. 14). Taste what is in your hands: onion-juice, yellow peels, my stinging shreds. You are the one in pieces (l. 23-24). When you go examining someone, expect to find things, both good and bad. Maybe the person who went searching found something they were not expecting, something that greatly altered the twos relationship, causing that person to go in pieces, a common phrase used to describe someone who is significantly upset. This quote, of lines 23- 24, also refer to gentleness in a relationship Gentleness is a trait required between two lovers, but it is absent in the relationship represented in this poem.
Getting to the core, getting to know someone, is a process that cannot and should not be rushed. When one becomes lost in a maze of chambers (l. 29) searching for one thing, they miss everything in between, which makes for a heart that will one day beat you to death (l. 31).