Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Dear Sister

I will burn the box of books you sent me.
I will not open the box.  I will burn the books.
I did not ask you to send them.  I thought
you and Pep had gotten rid of them years
before but no.  You were mortified, you said,
when you saw Pep moving them out of the tack
room where they had been stored for 16 years. 
Our mother was the last person I ever heard
use the word mortified.  I am sorry.  I am sorry
that I couldn’t fly halfway around the world
to Laramie, to truck the several boxes to a landfill,
or piecemeal  throw them into dumpsters
at U. Dub  probably when Cowboy Joe was throwing
a sold-out pre-game banquet  . . . but I can’t. 
Forgive me.

I will burn them.  I know you did not send them
out of the goodness of your heart but only to remind
me of what an encumbrance my unsold and unread
books have been on your life.

On some calm night when the Thai family I live
with is away at a wedding or funeral party and I am
the only one here, I will take the box out to
the irrigation canal and burn them where we burn
household trash.

Writing the book kept me alive through disparate
times in one foreign country and it only seems
fitting that they are burned here in another
foreign country.  I will toast the flames that
rise knowing full well that they are not consuming
the past or any seventy-year-old bonds between you
and me.  Writing is a lonely art, and I will toast
the flames and the updraft of heat and char
alone for knowing that.

FG           8/8/2015

Not once in 16 years did Pep ever write and say that the boxes of my books were in the way or he needed them gone.  If he had I would have paid him to bury or burn them.  There may be a story behind the story of my sister's discomfort, but if there is, I don't know what it is.