Thursday, October 27, 2016

White Hair

I find one, small white hair
in my winter jacket

I am reminded of the big dog,
who used to sit by the door

She was so smelly and ugly,
and very expensive

Then last year she died,
and I cried

For what reason I know not
except for her presence

Which would forever disappear
from the yard and our door

She'd sit and sit for hours just
watching nothing

Sleeping in the sun, and sometimes
it was endearing, her consistency

Her nightly summer barking,
her frozen dish in winter

Perhaps, the hair is not hers
but somehow, I wish it were.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Empty Seaside School

all is quiet
in the seaside school,
the halls are devoid
of laughing, screaming
children, instead
nothing but the waves
out on the gray, empty sea
and the rain, trickling
down the gutter
greet me,
all at once, the howling
lonely wind
comes off the waters,
and wraps its arms
around my soul,
a chill shiver
drips down
my spine,  I am reminded
of the sailors
lost in the night,
taken alive by the dark waters,
and that mournful
sound, drowning out
their last cries.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three Times

in the blazing light of dawn
you told me that I caused
all of your suffering,
you too, had once loved me
and shut away your heart,
in the burning fierceness
of your anger
you kissed me, three times
as if to mock me,
in your spring colors, your
delicate suit, your wrists wrapped
in white cuffs,
the golden sunlight crowned
your black hair,
but your lips were thin and trembling,
cold and afraid,
though once I did love you,
you loved me too,
and after a long time passed,
we reached our parting.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


his warm breath
on my neck,
humming and sighing,
is the sound of his life
coming in, going out,
as he slept I pressed
my lips to his forehead,
his skin as skin should be
slight smell of oils and sunscreen,
his eyes shut gently,
their lashes the most delicate
feature of his face,
peaceful and serene
in the dimness,
when he turned his head
and the rhythm of his chest
became fainter,
I wrapped my arm tightly
around him
to detect each heartbeat,
to still my fluttering anxiety,
to know the sound
of his life,
coming in, going out.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Unexpected Replies, A Rainy Night in Jeju City

Alone I ate my supper,
then went walking downtown
in the darkness,
I passed by Baghdad,
strange name
for an Indian restaurant,
across the street
is a little bar, and outside
sat neighborhood ahjusshis
and uni students,
I can't say where
one set of shoulders
ended and the other began,
a bunch of men
all in a line of little stools
among fairy lights and lanterns
pink, blue, yellow,
between them I see
the server standing, his features
unmistakable in the crowd---
long nose, deep eyes,
he was working
at Baghdad last time,
and a tall, skinny child,
maybe eight or nine
rubs his eyes and looks
up at the foreign man,
notes of broken Korean
the kind spoken to children
float through the
puddled street, and the child
with perfect vowels and consonants, replies
"Appa," and I pause,
his dark skin and round eyes
light brown hair
take on a new meaning,
he follows his father
across the street, into the restaurant
where just two weeks ago
the smell of spices
and colorful tapestries
transported us to another world---
but isn't this the one
we actually live in,
changing and
bringing unexpected replies
to our many questions,
my soul suddenly becomes
still in the night,
and I pass on.