The smell of fishcakes simmering, men
dipping snails in red sauce, eels swimming
in round brown tubs, and women singing
while husking garlic; we held hands in the open

dark, but never tight enough;
we stopped at a half-lit fruitstand
tasting apples the colour of our tans;
they were too soft.

Then after sex, the night sky smog outside
the window, bruised blue and red,
intwined in breath and the bed
sheets wound about our flesh like tides

reminding me that I must go
and leave your salty musk behind –
the strength of your thighs, the kind
sadness of your eyes. You

are the sweetest thing, but I ran in too fast
and lost your ring; it slipped away like a dream
into an ocean of sand, still gleaming,
somewhere near Busan.

I wake to find my finger light. This
morning stings.

(Seoul, South Korea)