Chi Kyu Lee | Poetry

Comparing apples to oranges—

that’s why our codeword
became [orange]. ∴
Apples are straight
but we never used [apple].
(The logic is tenuous, I know.)

The waiter holds a pair of tired
fire-tongs & his scuttle hanging
lower than usual. (The soot
smells different from soot-bul—yet I crave
bulgogi still.) He roams, looking

for dead coal. Hookah-aerosol screens
off our part of this unofficial [orange orchard].

You chin-point at a [fruit]:
“Do you think he’s [orange]?”
(or “he’s a [orange]”? an [orange]?
What is included in those brackets?)

As a secondary safeguard,
we say the codeword in Arabic; I reply
“I don’t think
he’s [برتقال]”

We are [orange]. I am [orange]
but, in front of mirrors, I still

become unspeaking—