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Author: Burgess Needle
Location: Arizona

diamond icon Burgess Needle's work has appeared in The Hiss Quarterly, Origamicondom, Kritya (India), Zafusy (UK), and Free Verse, and has work coming out in the near future in Black Mountain Review (UK). He co-edited Prickly Pear/Tucson, a poetry quarterly, and has been a co-director of the summer program of the Southern Arizona Writing Project. He is currently editing a journal he kept as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, and is finishing a screenplay. He enjoys telling and hearing stories.

Visiting Wasan

Wasan was the first name of the meteorologist in the small town of Nangrong, Thailand, where I worked for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer a long time ago. This poem is a tightly focused summary of my visit with Wasan and his friend, Bunya, one very hot day in May.

I arrived early
nothing at first but stunted trees
           tall grass nervous dogs a few dragonflies
the faint scent of rice paddies
Chewing a wad of betel nut leaves
           Wasan caught my eye and smiled
           a surprise of red teeth
Cirrus he said as I got off my bike
His slick hair had a widow's peak
Low pressure he murmured
 looked over my shoulder
Tom dum sabaii      take it easy
His friend Bunya arrived
           thin with a smoker's cough
           and watery eyes
Beneath the scant shade of a guava tree
           we chatted and sipped sato
           the fermented rice drink was sour
                       then not so much
Pollen spores blew across my line of sight
Local peppers burned my mouth
Bunya handled a peeled cucumber
That was me            drunk beyond belief
 fearless to exhibit curiosity
Who are you               really         I asked with intent
My name is Wasan
           I am the weatherman
As if in a trance, I silently asked
           Do you know which way the wind blows
Aperitif complete we floated to Wasan's home
his wife served savory roast pork
           fresh morning glory leaves in oyster sauce
           mountains of aromatic Basmati rice
Outside, fat clouds hid the moon
           Now it comes said Bunya as
           humid breezes enveloped us
Likely precipitation I murmured
           soft drops kissed each of us
           brothers in the rain

ISSN 1941-0441

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