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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 4, December 2012

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Tish Davis
Dublin, Ohio, U.S.A.


In a Glass Bowl

so many
so far from home
winter rain

I’m an American in China working to restart the supply chain disabled by the worst flooding in Thailand in half a century.

translating work instructions—
the universal language
of the office clock

As I walk through the narrow aisle between the cubicles, a woman calls to me from one of the window lit offices reserved for visitors. It’s one of the Thai engineers. She’s extraordinarily petite and in her conservative blue dress, reminds me of Bemelmans’ Madeline. After rummaging through a paper bag, she presents me with a gift—a small package of white cookies shaped like miniature straws. I don't mention that I have allergies and cannot eat them. Instead, I sit so as not to tower over her, and express my sorrow about the flooding.

"How are the temples in Ayutthaya?" I ask.

She shakes her head.

"And the immense statue of the reclining Buddha on the grounds of the Wat Yai Chai Mongkol? And the row of Buddhas in the courtyard—the ones in saffron robes?"

These too have been damaged.

"And the monks? What about the monks that live there? And the dogs, the temple dogs?"

All were rescued as the government sent in boats.

By now she's crying. I never mention that I’ve forgotten her name.

touching
for the first time
a winter orchid

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