In a hotel lounge twenty-six floors above Seoul,
the sound of rush hour is muted.
The acrid grey sky is cancerous with sunrise.
With neckties tight,
and coffees half finished,
four businessmen at the next table
speak of the silver flash of trout
in shimmering Colorado streams.
Children in Bangladesh.
Second homes. Long hours suffered.
Rare earth minerals pried from Mongolia.
Starving migrations. Picassos. Monets.
The value of love. What to bid.
Consumption of McDonald’s.
The smoothness of ivory.
Profits for a cure. Stocks. Wine.
Pyongyang and cigarettes.
Their adored sons.
But my translation is poor;
their language of pure math
is difficult, a distillation.
A torrent of calculations with too many
decimal places rushing through stock markets,
canyons, favelas and forests far below,
washing away everything
that cannot escape
to higher ground.
Then, with laughter at a good joke,
they push back from their table,
and are gone into the stillborn sunset
bleeding across the city.
Gentle brown winds from China
burn our lungs.
The evening closes over us
like rising water;