Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, inquiring into a poetics emerging from the adopted diasporic condition, guest-curates a portfolio of poems for The Line Break.
July 5, 2013
Songkran Niyomsane’s Forensic Medicine Museum, 2003
Behind the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok: The Chinese cannibal’s corpse Was stuffed and hung in a glass box. His bad orthodontia flickers like nightlights After hours. Honestly, he’s a bad piece Of shoe leather. Rancid jerky. Impolitic students visiting the second floor Contemplate Rama VIII as the Thai JFK. Head doctors confirm An uncommon number Of unclaimed corpses Received a single bullet In the forehead To study the methods Of modern regicide. Periwinkle tile and placid aquariums Among imperfect babies soaking Within dusty beakers of formaldehyde Are supposed to soothe you on your tour. A brown clay jar on the floor Slowly fills with baht For the solitary soul of a tiny boy Crammed inside to suffocate by his last enemies In the world. Reach inside. You’ll feel a young ghost’s hand reach back, looking for toys. I wondered if my mother, making her way across The Mekong for a new life, might have found herself here Tucked in a drawer anonymously among these samples Of flesh, these cold cases in a tropical nation. Behind you, Dr. Niyomsane’s own cadaver chuckles From a clean hook, the eternal student, daring Tomorrow’s professional investigators to study him.
Bryan Thao Worra is an award-winning Laotian American writer and works actively to support Southeast Asian American artists. A transcultural adoptee, his writing is recognized by the Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts. He represented Laos as a Cultural Olympian during the Poetry Parnassus of the London 2012 Summer Games. He is also an active professional member of the Horror Writer Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association.