Machine Translation

The old woman and the older woman sit down across a flimsy folding table. Between them there is a plexiglass barrier, the kind you might encounter now at a doctor’s office or the checkout line at the grocery store.

This time we all know we are contagious, right?

They type into complementary machines–one English to Korean and the other Korean to English

Do not forgive these Korean letters, forgive something else if you will.

The devastating depths men may plunge to

If the womenfolk fail to speak.

Tethered

In the end, I picture you

Crossing paths unexpectedly with someone much like me only nicer

Between trains in a crowded station

She is going one way, you the other

And she knows there is only one minute left

Amidst the noise, the crowd, the excruciating sound of braking

To say something

To change the course of your endless

Destination

There is no end of the line?

Who will meet you at the station?

Jesus, the ticket pressed into your hand

The only way home

Ah-buh-nim

The little boy in the picture wore the most adorable overalls

And brand-spanking-new shoes

He approached the chicken in the unfamiliar garden

With the utmost deference,

The pears still hung on the trees, each carefully wrapped in old newspapers to shield them from pestilence

An unseasonably warm day to worship one’s ancestors and

The food at the restaurant was good

Something about historically accurate food

In the last few moments before

The two little red-headed children

Reported

All they saw–aggressor-accomplice-victim

The little boy in the picture wore the most adorable overalls

Lazarus

He walks into every room looking for someone who might comprehend

what it is

he has seen and heard

He weighs their solemn waiting-room-faces

Do they have

Better memories now? Do they still need to write things down or

Know every word by heart?

Are all the lambs among them and

can we see their scars?

Who can end this waiting

By calling us out

Out into life

Let us forsake all our wasted days

It would be an ordinary basking day for the spiny and the green

Lizards who sun on the rocks and the fences

We would beat the palms of our hands on the opacity of windows

Before we opened them to warn off

night so late that morning is just a nap’s distance

Away

The fans would beat their wings

Now while we can

Let us forsake

all our wasted days.

Killer Dogs/Beautiful Clouds

As you well know, I have been trying to focus on the presence of signifiers–the feral blender noises the dogs make when they are behind the dark door–the way the clouds pool and furl in beautiful splendor–let us say our daily prayers

Swap the signifiers

Killer clouds for beautiful dogs

This savage world/all ripped to pieces

While the light of one ordinary star is enough to

Remind me

Just how good you are

At holding on to me

All the same.