Ferry Terminal Soliloquy

Written during my recent crossing to Seoul, of which the previous poems Ikea & Sewol Tragedy are linked.

Ferry Terminal Soliloquy

The scent of ginseng candy wafts
from old ladies’ mouths, rattles their false
teeth, lubricates dry tongues & throats with spice.
People pointedly serious about schedules & tickets
their handshakes warm enough to incubate
cups of sweet coffee— the pamphlets
telling the other side of things; a pharmacist, in case

—light pours from high windows, stamps lattice
on the tiles— at least there’s promise of air.
i shudder at the sight, of grown men
in full tracksuits, curdling like acrid milk in foyers.
A coach waits for us. Ship horns blare
like dung chen, signaling that soon we will begin
to cross the sea & should know what that means.

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