I wake up to roosters crowing, old hens clucking like they know something.
I just want to sleep in but there’s Mom rushing –
“Load up the van, find a sinh to wear, don’t forget the paa bieng, tie up your hair.”
Don my Dollar Store flops, no patience for “church” shoes
grass sticks to peanut toes as I walk through the morning dew.
The sangha trickle in, filling the temple square. They gossip and chatter while perusing the market fare. Soon, not much is left of the Shire‘s wares
and I’m glad since it saves me from repacking.
The smell of chern guoi drifts from one stall over. It’s the Red-Cheeked Lady and she has samples to offer. She’s the only one who hasn’t asked a personal question so I like her.
Still my duties aren’t over. Say hello and nop to the elders, show respect and don’t embarrass my mother.
Lao society can be exhausting but I embrace this simple life.
On the drive home, we make dinner plans:
baked fish, tum mark hoong, and geng naw mai.
In the kitchen, sounds of chopping, the pestle thumping
to the rhythm of conversation.
As the sun goes down, Mom and Paa tend to the garden.
The rhythm slows and soon I will close my eyes
on the floor by the altar, on a bed of comforters
I think of the days ahead and I miss this simple life.