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July 23, 2009

Street lamps flicker on and I’m the last to head home.
Dusk settles over the bare parking lot.

The cold pierces the skin like a syringe to a girl’s arm,
a man in Burma holds her as the liquid sinks into her flesh.

I shift the stack of papers I’m holding and there is no point
in working late. The girl prays, her eyes wide and white.

The tip of my key, jamming into the car lock, fits in.
The man ties ropes around the girl’s wrist to the bed post.

Enough to keep her heart pulsing to find a vein;
she will be awake for a few more hours.

Begging for sleep, she will see a pike of lust
stretch the soul out of her body. I see the sky.

The first drops of rain slide down the windshield.
The girl begins to hum like the start of the engine.

by Angela Koh

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  1. July 23, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    This poem moves with an ominous precision. It’s excellent.

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