Maxine Kumin

 

 

Poems By Maxine Kumin

Where I Live

Waterboarding, Restored

Looking for Luck in Bangkok

 

 

 

Looking for Luck in Bangkok

Often at markets I see
people standing in line
to walk under an elephant.
They count out a few coins,
then crouch to slip beneath
the wrinkly umbrella that smells
of dust and old age
and a thousand miracles.

They unfold on the other side
blessed with long life,
good luck, solace from grief,
unruly children, and certain
liver complaints.

Conspicuous Caucasian,
I stoop to take my turn.
The feet of my elephant are stout
as planted pines. His trunk completes
this honest structure,
this tractable, tusked,
and deeply creased
endangered shelter.

I squat in his aromatic shade
reminded of stale bed clothes,
my mother's pantry shelves
of cloves and vinegar,
as if there were no world of drought,
no parasites, no ivory poachers.
My good luck running in
as his runs out.

 

 

 

From WHERE I LIVE: NEW & SELECTED POEMS 1990-2010 (W.W. Norton, 2010)

 

 

 

 

         
    Poetry Center Reading:
    Spring 2011