Conjoined / Separated

Korean DMZ, 1964

The line runs straight
through the middle of the room.
It is marked out on the walls,
through the tiles of the floor,
through a painted line
that divides the table in half.
Stone-faced men sit on one side
staring at stone-faced men
on the other. Ostensibly,
they are negotiating,
but no one says anything.
A junior aide fidgets,
carelessly allows his pen
to roll across the table.
Everyone stares it.

After a silence, someone
makes a joke about defection.
No one laughs. No one laughs,
and the aide never dares
to retrieve his pen.

Conjoined twins, once separated,
often remark of phantom pains
running the length of the scar.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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