“Another Meeting in Panmunjom” by Jessamine Price

Jessamine Price


A handshake is flimsy as petals,
and we still have to deal with the nukes and the guns
and the millions of men in army fatigues and leaking boots,
the thousand conflicting interests of strongmen and presidents,
but watching the young man in black from the North
shake hands with his Southern elder,
speak polite words to his Southern elder,
polite as a distant nephew at a wedding or a funeral,
for a moment I imagine the enemy’s touch—
how much one hand is like another hand,
the hand that tortures and the hand that rights our wrongs—
the pressuring fingers frightening
the palm’s warmth full of hope.

from Poets Respond
April 29, 2018


Jessamine Price: “As an American living in Chungnam Province, I followed the April 27th meeting between Moon Jae-In and Kim Jong-Un closely. The Korean news coverage has been in-depth and interesting. Like many watchers here, I was particularly struck by Kim Jong-Un’s use of language. (He was respectful and conciliatory, using South Korean vocabulary to refer to controversial topics.)” (web)

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