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This poem is taken from PN Review 138, Volume 27 Number 4, March - April 2001.

Three Poems Jan Owen

Crossing the Mekong
for Michael

The boat was already waiting by the bank,
near the women kneading their washing on the stones
when we took the cab, four planes, the bus, the tuk-tuk
and the last few steps down the dusty lane
to our unsteady seats with the boatman already
pushing off sleekly to the island,
the last, we thought, in a nest of trips,
with only flimsy tickets and pocketless memory
to mark the way back. On the other side
the reeds lacked all intention, bent as straw.
The mud flat sucked our feet and spat out frogs
tiny and naked as embryo truths
as if the mouths of silt could spew out light.
In the temple compound: drifts of

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