Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Aunt Edna

Driving home from Nashua, I use to go
by the old Amoskeag mills. The water
powered looms had long gone by then and
the four-story brick buildings were derelict
and waiting for renewal or total destruction.
My Aunt Edna spent her entire working life in
these mills which were once America’s
sweat-shops, and as I drove by I imagined
I could see a dead face looking out at me
longingly from every window pane.

My father took me only a couple of times
to see his sister, and she rarely came to see us.
I don’t know why they weren’t closer.
Perhaps, having survived the Great Depression
together there was an unwelcomed bond that
seemed to grow in their presence, I don’t know.
But the day my father died, I was so bewildered
by the news that I began driving south by
these old mills, going in the wrong direction,
going towards work and not my father’s house.

I lost track of my Aunt Edna until my sister
found her forty years after my father’s death
quite by accident while back East on vacation.
My sister lived out west and I had followed
the path of the textile looms, first to the southern
states and then overseas. “She’s 90 something,”
my sister said over the phone, “living in a private
nursing home. She’s pretty quiet, but her memory
seems, OK.” My sister fell silent and I thought
of the empty mills I use to drive by. “She just
doesn’t seem to want to volunteer much.”

FG July 20, 2011

All rights reserved by the author Forrest Greenwood.