the gunforest

In Korea,
A thin green band scrawls into human law.
With sharp and practiced pen,
it spins diversity into demilitarization
and preserves lost worlds within its thinly
veiled fingers.

Something about it is inhuman. Animal.
Ironic.
Its fingertips are green and riddled with mines,
Men patrol its joints, guns in hand or slung across their hearts,
weathered eyes focused on the other horizon.

On either side, two powerful hands sometimes reach across
this nebulous canyon of anger.
Birds deconstruct their fear, wings rest. Leaves shimmer.
Life is protected, not for life
but for something else.

Suffering surrounds safety.
Safety demands protection.
Protection presupposes a violence
yet to come.
A palmist would admire
these life lines.

The most human of divisions somehow begets inhuman beauty.
With sharp and practiced movements,
life thrives in our absence.

Across the wire, we hear raucous whooping, almost as if
the animals are laughing, their lives caressed
by the electric hands of human peace.

In Korea,
people carry an empty space in their chest
next to their hearts,
and call it hope.

In Korea,
people often ask themselves,
“What use is a hand that cannot clench?”
“What use is a hand that cannot hold?”

The space between the forest’s fingers are barbed, electrified,
patrolled with cautious soldiers watching each other’s horizons.

Sometimes hope is kept alive for the day the wires are cut
and our world comes rushing in.

Sometimes hope is kept alive for all the days they don’t
and it doesn’t.

For no finger points here,
no hands are raised in anger.
No arms rise or eyes fall in respect
or fear, saluting power unloved.
These hands cannot hurt, nor can they feed
more than their shimmering skin.
There is only movement, like water, peace,
or rustling trees.

A lost world.

 

Note: Image sourced from National Geographic’s collection of the Korean DMZ.

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