Chinese Box #2

In those early years, before there was a garden,
we rented rooms to 2 college girls from Thailand.

They had first names with only one syllable,
which they taught me to write in their script.

Back then, perhaps our city was a destination:
little strip of airport in the hills, the sudden drop

at the end of the tarmac. Breathtaking view of one
road snaking up from the coast. Fog near noon, rain

half the year; postcards framed with pine
and sunflowers. They ate meals with us, dated

local boys. I watched them work on their hair
with rollers, play vinyl records on the turntable,

do their own manicures. Modern in miniskirts,
yet they creased in perfect folds the pleats

of silk-threaded costumes, adjusted gold
headdresses and ten curved brass points

over their fingers. What made me think
of them today, as I pulled sweaters

out of the dryer, picking off the little
balls of lint with my thumb and forefinger?

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