William Doreski

      A film by Lee Chang-Dong

A Korean-speaking film unfolds
in shades of red so hard they hurt
behind the eyes, where hurt begins.
The characters frame themselves neatly,

but their pale expressions betray
the strain of acting in landscapes
too crisp and volcanic to support
ordinary human emotions

like farming or driving a car.
Rain batters the metal roof. Sighs
of pine section the dark. I settle
deeply into the sofa. Cats

pile on, censoring the scene
in which grandma has sex with the stroke
victim she's paid to bathe. He breathes
with such anguish I expect

his heart to fail in a great blue flash,
but instead a geometric street scene
offers buses, pedestrians, bleak
concrete apartment blocks. Grandma

suffers on behalf of her grandson,
also a rapist. The rain shucks
across tremendous night distance,
moving south from Long Island Sound

to mingle its fresh new consonants
with the Korean of the film,
flattering me with a language
slipped painlessly under my skin.

Mouth      Mouth
Other Things Seen,              to              Other Things Heard
(Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Carl Theodor Dreyer)