when your name is written in nine strokes
and i can feel your smile through your cool words,
anxious sweat manifests into falling nodes
time-stamped upon a screen
that pools and wells up into an unfamiliar warmth in my chest.
you write me only after the sun has gone down.
when it’s quiet,
your hand covering my knee enfolds the imagination.
you are bound by obligation
and forbidden by obligation.
always the most polite,
your movements are calculated, in both memories and projections.
you told me you are trying to be a Christian.
i wondered why.
i see you across from me on my living room floor in Japan.
i read your face by the pink glow of my night lamp.
even after months, maybe years, i see your eyes still smiling
beneath full, furrowed eyebrows.
there is nothing left to wonder.
your bones are longer than mine, giving you a grander view of this world.
your attitude is more carefree.
even so, you are not so much older than i
but 3 years can make us level,
stretch room enough to grow.
서서 헤엄을 처세요
you think in two languages like i do
when we communicate;
so much water to tread to keep up with you.
but you explained once
너는 한국말을 잘하니까 나는 편하게 말만해도 돼서 편하네요.
that i should come to Korea, not Japan.
조금만 더하면 한국에서 몇년 산 사람처럼 말할 수 있을거예요.
yet, no matter how far i swim and no matter how close our shores
we are too far from each other now.
i want you to taste the cinnamon in my coffee,
feel the flush of my pale skin,
watch kilometers of mountains and coast bloom and bloom
deliberately for you
as we travel to your beloved metropolises in the northern islands.
you left parts of yourself in Thailand,
in a city by the bay,
and with me at dawn.