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Lament of the Ex-Encyclopedia Salesman with a Pretty Thai Lady on His Arm
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I woke & my fingernails were long. Where I moved
I drew blood. She, descendent of opium fields,
chose me. In this intermezzo of luck
I am ridiculous. Her digital photos reveal me:
pants tucked in high over my gut, staring out
at morning beach umbrellas past a big red nose,
eyes shocked as if readjusting to bad news.
While dancing I step on her foot & she laughs.
Her poised look asks, “Surprised I try to please,
farang?” My capacity to worship endures.
My capacity to endure is played out. I tell her
I don’t like heels. Don’t they make it hard to walk
on sand? She winks. She reveals little. Tipsy
on Jell-O spritzers, she let it slip that as a kid she
had a pet bunny that chased trucks. Why
did her bunny do that? So much is inconceivable,
sunstruck on our backs under a banyan tree
that eddies like a river but slower than time,
like Paganini violins. Tar coats my throat
& I stare at stars—no, between—at blackness
declared unmanifest, unthinkable, immutable.
The moth of night eats the linen sky. Time
siphons love. Her hand is small & brown in mine.

John Wall Barger  

John Wall Barger’s poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, The Atlanta Review, and The Montreal Prize Global Poetry Anthology. His second collection, Hummingbird (Palimpsest Press, 2012) was a finalist for the 2013 Raymond Souster Award. He lives in Hong Kong and teaches creative writing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Copyright © 2014 University of Tampa Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
John Wall Barger. "Lament of the Ex-Encyclopedia Salesman with a Pretty Thai Lady on His Arm." Tampa Review 47.1 (2014): 39-39. Project MUSE. Web. 25 Apr. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Barger, J. W.(2014). Lament of the Ex-Encyclopedia Salesman with a Pretty Thai Lady on His Arm. Tampa Review 47(1), 39. University of Tampa Press. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
John Wall Barger. "Lament of the Ex-Encyclopedia Salesman with a Pretty Thai Lady on His Arm." Tampa Review 47, no. 1 (2014): 39-39. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 25, 2014).
TY - JOUR
T1 - Lament of the Ex-Encyclopedia Salesman with a Pretty Thai Lady on His Arm
A1 - John Wall Barger
JF - Tampa Review
VL - 47
IS - 1
SP - 39
EP - 39
PY - 2014
PB - University of Tampa Press
SN - 2326-4101
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/tampa_review/v047/47.barger.html
N1 - 47/48, 2014
ER -

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