“Reunification” – A Poem


My favourite Korean folk tale

is designed to teach children proper hygiene

although it plays out like a nightmare:


If you cut your toenails & forget to clean up the clippings

rats will eat it, become an exact replica of yourself

& turn up at your door.


Your identities will be indecipherable to your father

& your position in the household is diminished

by at least half.


My second favourite folk tale concerns a pickled, yellow king

who sends his Turtle Doctor to find a new liver.

The first animal outside the kingdom he finds

is a rabbit.


When they improvidently show their hand

Rabbit insists it’s too valuable to travel with.

He is released in good faith

& according to the story, he ends all benders.


When the doctor demands his dues

the rabbit stifles a laugh: “Why would I give you that?

You know I can’t live without it,”

& bounds off.


(Editor’s note: poet Peter Gibbon has lived in South Korea and published with In/Words Magazine, Apt. 9 Press, Bywords and Toronto’s The Puritan)

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