By Victoria McArtor

We are supposed to think there’s an imaginary motorcycle and we are supposed to be in this position as if we are riding the motorcycle… You are bound to fall forward. Everybody in the detention centre goes through this kind of torture. — Kim Kwang-il

Think motorcycle
without hot girth between the legs,
hold yourself
apart like this.Think of riding south
down Kaesŏng highway with,

what was her name,

nostalgia is such a distorting force.

Try not to think of the crime—
not the pine nuts I stole
but the eating of them from her hand,

as soon as we can pull this
thing over to rest,

or think instead she’d be eating me
from her own hand, or think I could
be still in shell, or a tree, I could be
roots traveling south pushing towards
the East China Sea.

Or rather be the sea.
Calm down, I think

she’s saying to me. We ride
& nothing is so mysterious
as her body coming to a close around me

she’s tight as a whip
she’s as rough as the road

of the trip, she’s the light near the darkness
she is herself an abyss

and I take her safely there.

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