Fall is here. Too long rain drowned
my clean heels, clouds hung at my neck.
At work, the new foreign teacher struggles
with chopsticks, looks hungry, lonely,
always sleepless. I ask if he eats kgam—
he knows the word, not the flavor.
Today I bring him one, section it,
put it on his desk, napkin-wrapped.
When he returns from teaching,
he tastes Korean autumn; subtle,
honeyed, brief. He thanks me, says
I am so kind. He talks too fast,
but gives me half the fruit, insists.
I eat and stare at his nose.
He chews through smiles.
I notice now, this one is not yet ripe.
Masan, South Korea