Busan On The Cold Morning Of March 27th 2011

It is the reflected light from the plastic and cement that forms the illumination of my morning, thrown inside the humid atmosphere of our one-room apartment through a lone glass window fogged up with every breath we took in our dreams last night, while under the white wallpaper a black mold drinks our moisture and breeds and gnaws at everything. I am awake but you are still having nightmares, swearing at shades in Korean, your hand on your bulbous belly where another person takes after you and boxes at shadows through the entirety of his nine-month Cthulhu-esque half-slumber. In the ceiling’s corner the water pump whines like a strangled kitten.

The blue sky you can see will haze over to smog in a few hours when the exhaust from the river of cars roaring between the gaudy alleys of cheap high-rises just waiting to crumble like dominoes in the next Asian earthquake climbs up in wraiths to form an umbrella of noxious gas over Busan so thick you can feel the carcinogens tingle as they penetrate your skin; the tar beneath your feet throbs with filth, and a man on the street below coughs twice and sucks up a gob of phlegm from his throat like a clawing tide draining itself back into the ocean and hurls it out into the sewer reeking of rotten cabbage as he has done on every single morning you have spent in this neighborhood on the slope of a great mountain that may just possibly shield you from a lesser mountain of water the sea may throw your way when an inevitable tsunami cleanses the land of the cement plastic metropolitan blight.

The children I have watched grow up for two years are running around outside on a city street with no sidewalks—one of them was in diapers when I first came here and got myself soaked in monsoon rain.

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