In the downpour
a pair of cobras slithers
into the resort
and the restaurant empties
The boy sets his tray of drinks
on a table and runs for the itak
he isn’t supposed to keep
in his locker, but does. Not
precisely for this,
but he knew one day it would come in handy.
When he returns
the foreigners’ faces press
against the windows. The cobras rear
and flare and face the boy down.
and he slices their heads off.
An older waiter stands on the severed heads
until the jaws stop contracting.
Housekeeping wipes up the blood
with bath towels.
The boy resumes passing out
drinks like nothing
has happened, but he’ll never
forget this night.
Even the Koreans tip.
Terminal 3 Farewell
From behind a row of empty carts,
she watches her daughter inch up the long line.
At her side, her grandson taps at the apps
on an android screen. Her glasses are fogged—
she daubs at her eyes with the hem of her
pink housedress. What kind of a world is this,
she wonders, that separates mothers
from daughters, that turns parents into strangers
to their own children?
Her grandson taps at the apps on his android.
In the Eel Grass
no current for twenty minutes.
The eel grass stiff as soldiers at attention.
At the tip of one stalk, a star anemone, cellophane clear,
an ornament in the currentless shallows—
nothing to reach for, nothing
Where do I fit in this stillness?
Gray cloud on a green bottom…
Before you bear witness, Charles Wright says,
make sure you have something worth witnessing.
I used to witness hammerheads nosing
around this bed.
I’d hug the bottom, claw into it
as once, twice, three times the cool clouds of the hammers
Today in this stillness I watch a shovel shrimp push debris
from its tiny nest
again and again
like a meditation.
It’s low voltage, no thrill—just work.
I don’t stop watching until I’m damn near out of air.