(SE Asian - noun: living room)

One gray marbled coffeetable, two
end tables on which lamps stood, 
flanking a sofa at least twice 
reupholstered. A poor reproduction 

of Amorsolo's Rice Planting on the wall: 
broody volcano shrouded by distant clouds, 
a line of golden-skinned farmers bending 
to push seedlings into the loam. The floor,

buffed and waxed to a hard shine. On every 
other surface, fretwork of crocheted runners
on which my mother laid a lifetime of tokens
of our various accomplishments, next to

her collection of plaster saints: 
as if diplomas, pictures, certificates 
were themselves the patrons of a future
we would never stop trying to supplicate.

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