Archives for posts with tag: waking

In my everyday life, I am so used to not looking like most people, that it is startling at first when I am with people who do look like me. But arriving in Thailand is such a shock of welcome and familiarity, that it quickly becomes comfortable, easy. The faces greeting us at the airport really do look like mine. The words I hear rush to find me, name me, claim me as one of theirs. “Fon” is my Thai name, meaning rain — for my rainy birthday. It meets me when I return.

We walked off the plane

into a tangle of arms,

brown, stretched towards us,

a rush of sound, the

voices naming us,

again and again,

until I became the girl

I was 25 years before.

“Fon,” they said.

The name traveled through

body and memory,

waking long sleeping cells,

so that I knew it as mine.

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When my parents invited me and my family to join them on what they claimed would be their last trip home to Thailand, I knew they were telling me more than they said. They were not so much old as sick — and feeling vulnerable to time. Despite the stress of uncertainty and the sadness of imminent loss, that awareness of time, place, and all experiences was a gift. My senses were on high alert, paying attention to taste, sound, smell, and the many voices that I knew not to take for granted. 

The last trip home

would travel along

the edge of change.

The change comes,

as it always does:

a slow folding in,

then increasing urgency

as the end draws near.

But before that,

would be the last trip home:

the chance to touch gold,

taste salty water,

feel warm breath

on tea-colored skin,

sing the song of language,

touch the ground

of home again.