Rob Mackenzie


A trail north from Seoul
promised me a mountain.
Maple trees dropped
flares at my feet.
A breeze brushed my hair
with the scent
of Mugunghwa. Stars
showered my eyes
in cold light.

The path straightened
into Panmunjom.
Ahead, buried mines
laced the flatlands.
A soldier aimed binoculars
across the border
at a man who aimed
binoculars at him.

I asked the soldier,
“Where is the mountain?”
He said, “Every border is
a mountain. Anyone can see that.”


Strange the streets are so crowded
when people want most of all
to avoid contact.
Like the crisscross of contrail
through the sky, I pass you
and who knows
what trace we make; two bodies
dust the air and nose home
to empty rooms.


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