From Both Sides

We view the Korean DMZ from several vantage points,
each one quite a distance from North Korea itself.
At the Odusan Unification Tower we come closest,
within 3.2 km, at low tide of the Inhan River
a hop, skip and a jump from there to here.

Through powerful binoculars, we count a total
of 7 North Koreans working in a rice field near the riverside.
Eugene asks why they don’t just run – or swim – across
to the South, despite guard towers scattered along the river.
Steve speculates there’s a threat that family members
will suffer dire consequences should anyone attempt escape.

At every point where we try to see North Korea,
numerous souvenir shops offer all kinds of knick-knacks
and clothing items with which we can commemorate
our close encounters with the souls suffering existence
only a mad dash away from their threatened lives,
but few would sacrifice their parents, spouses,
and children for a chance at some better life on this side.

The DMZ is big business for the fortunate vendors in the south,
bad business for people we all come here to view as if this were a play.

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