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for maung tha noe
how do you write history
in a language that has no
past tense?

i don’t ask for it
more than once
history stumbles over me

how is it that you are part of history
if you haven’t fine-dined with her?

it was the railroad worm in adam’s apple
it was the pine bark turned into rye bread
it was the rotten meat ration on the battleship potemkin
it was a hike in the price of oil
it was a viss of rice for a lot of vice
it was the iron chef in hell’s kitchen at fuli restaurant

what’s up in your hometown?

a turnpike,
a flyover is under construction
over the juncture of history

when did clio land?

this morning, about half past two

did she have anything to declare?

they strip-searched her anyway

what did they find on her?

a whistleblower, a conch-shell blower
a critically endangered cheroot industry
a pair of cheap putsches
the crowd psychologist dr. state with
his twin sons, racism and reverse racism
an albino cockroach, a fake hypocrite, and
an immigrant, whose name
you will never get

Poet's Note: fuli restaurant: a Chinese-Burmese restaurant on Insein Road, Yangon.