Issue Twenty-Two - Summer 2013

Career Change

By Tana Young

The air is gamy and thick.
My skin slick blisters
with sweat. Mosquitoes
drone in a ditch. Dragons
fly above a murky Mekong,
squat low on its haunches,
edged red by clay roads. At sunset,
we melt ice cubes in beer,
eat catfish with rice
by the river. The skies darken –
we are pulled by strings,
lights of the night bazaar.
We are odd. We have money.
An ancient woman, her
voice brittle with phlegm,
static and rage, shrieks.
Her fist shakes, stuffed tight with bills.
A man crowds me, touches me, nudges me,
with no hands, his face
a mask of burns.
How can he receive my alms?
My left hand clasps the right.
My frozen face turns toward
souvenirs of Lenin’s
head on cerulean blue.
Nothing is possible now.

Copyright Young 2013