The Khaen – Poem by John Hicks

Rainy Season, 1971

The music grows

as I approach the light-spill from an open-fronted noodle shop.
The khaen pulses of upcountry, echoes from the concrete walls.
Customers are laborers, sun creased men from upcountry,
come to Bangkok, come to work for those they left behind.

I stay in the street; its shadows.

Should I walk in from the dark—cornstalk in an orchid garden—
I’d impose on the moment. Their eyes are closed into his music,
into songs they know from home. Softness dances in his fingers’
caress of bamboo pipes.

In pink sarong she cleans tables, wiping in distracted arcs.
There’s a tea set at his place, and he’s turned his seat toward her.
As he plays, she looks at him, then down into her open hands;
tilts her head as if considering: what would village life be like?

About the Poet

John Hicks is an emerging poet: has been published or accepted for publication by:  Valparaiso Poetry Review, I-70 Review, Ekphrastic Review, Glint Literary Journal, Midnight Circus,Bangor Literary Journal, Mojave River Review, Vita Brevis, and others.

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