Beneath the shivering city

This strange new language stumbling over my lips—


means, “excuse me.”

Inserted in early morning chatter

while ordering an eggs, toast,

and black coffee breakfast.

What’s the Korean word for

“thank you”?


Elbow to elbow office ladies

in charcoal gray skirts

squeezed around the counter

of this subterranean eatery

hurry to finish.

A quick check of make-up

then out the door.
In the background
Frank Sinatra croons
he did it his way.
Underneath the subway rumbles.

From Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm