Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Monday, August 8, 2016

Our Monitors

My sister won’t come to Thailand because
of her dislike of snakes.  OK, there are snakes
in Thailand, but the ones I see are usually
dead on the road.  Iridescent green squiggles,
or black rope-like corpses with white under
jaws gone tits-up (if I can say this) that are
baking on the black tar in the hot Thai sun. 

Monitor Lizards, up from Malaysia, are another
thing.  Muscular tails like crocs and talons like
eagles they look formidable, but their small
heads with beady little-eyes crossing the road
in broad daylight make me think of a nursing
home patient – befuddled for a moment - who
has lost his way.

I slow and stop to let this “gator” pass.  A pickup
coming the other way does the same.

What drives these animals to leave the klong
where they are kings and cross the dangerous
black road to the acres of green rice fields
where they are vermin and will be killed if seen?

When the lizard passes, I slowly move on.
In my review mirror as I manually shift up
(second, third, fourth . . .) I see the pickup
wait for the lumbering lizard to cross then
do the same.

FG       8/8/2016

“klong’ is the Thai word for canal.  Here an irrigation canal.

Once driving to a wat down a cement lane big enough for one compact car, we came upon a lizard.  This animal decided to out run us and was as funny to see as a cow trying to run.   Oompah, oompah.  But then he dove into a shallow klong and with his mighty wave-like tail he zoomed under water ahead of us.  At 30 kph, about as fast as you can ride a bike, he was putting distance between us.

We went to the wat for a funeral, but I couldn’t get this hideous, beautiful animal out of my mind.  Halfway through the service a man and woman behind us asked my wife something.   What, I asked as they got up and left.  Wrong wat she said.