Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Things Once Seen Cannot Be Unseen - Nabokov

Towards the end, my wife’s father
was so emaciated and drawn he was
as hard to look at as the concentration
camp prisoners Ike made every
German in town come out to see.

He died a home death on my beautiful,
blue tile floor within a circle of brothers,
cousins, wife and friends. I came out
a minute before he died and was transfixed
by his one good eye trying to follow me
in the same way I expect people in
the crowd could be transfixed by someone
being burned at the stake. I skirted the small
huddle and by the time I made the front
door he was gone.

A dumb interloper as much now as then,
the man’s death does not belong to me.
But now that the heavy wooden settee
has been moved back out under the eave
for the dry Thai winter, I feel his presence
on my empty blue floor.

He seems to watch me past the shoulders
of the kneeling and the ball cap held by
a lone, standing man as I now make for
the front door. I look back, but he is gone.

FG 12/10/2011

All right reserved by the author Forrest Greenwood

I attribute this quote to Nabokov – probably from
Speak Memory – but I’m not sure if I’m right.