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Exit Bar

                                    D. S. Apfelbaum

We call for more takju, yakju, soju,
any ju that doesn’t smack of home.

Murky makgeolli, clarified cheongju
I want to taste the distance that’s distilled

in every swill: the rich note of a region
whose name I can’t pronounce, of centuries

churned hard against this sheltered palate.
If imbibition is a certain way to recollect,

then let us remember our way through the night–
until the floor glitters with the jade-colored litter

of broken Chamisul bottles, until dawn creeps
across the two-story stage of Daegu and–

stitched to another strange, American
couple–we stagger out arm-in-arm. Until

so much remembering makes me forget:
the room key, your shawl, how gracelessly

our foreign tongues sliced through
each shot, each nesting doll of liquor.

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