*This poem was written aboard a ferry in the Eastern China Sea. As an elderly Korean man squinted at my scribbling, I expounded upon the feelings that I imaged he might be experiencing. Unfortunately I was reduced to making assumptions. In this regard, my voice seeped into the lines, tainting the whole concept…
Old eyes over a shoulder staring, preparations: pages turned, a pen cap pulled.
Blue, inky words beginning to fill blanked-ness, letters unraveling, all haphazard.
This sensation, akin to emotional starvation, so heavy-handed, heavy-hearted.
Those old eyes, again, your gaze, not meeting mine, rather my stumbling instead.
Sharing in mutual curiosity, hopelessly guessing the meaning of blurted jottings.
Peripherals too, leaving the paper, and those hideously hollow eye sockets, hiding,
hiding a fear of the future, faith in listlessness, and certain almighty forgiveness.
A pupil’s age, the catalogue behind eyelids, curtains, closed doors, impossible.
Boiling down changes witnessed and bested, victories savored, and pain forgotten.
Eyelashes weaving and unweaving, blinking at a snapshot, hieroglyphic inscriptions
of an imagination belonging to another world, a cliff-hanging generation at ready,
believing in anything and nothing, trusting the mechanism assembled by the aged.
Put another coat of paint on her; make her beautiful. Every illness has a remedy.
Replace what’s outdated, even if only in appearance. From now on, make all new.