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Pink House

By Burgess Needle

On a drunken spree carousing with
med techs I first met Oy at the pink
house where a small fee bought time on
a bamboo mat with working girls
familiarity with place meant hooting
tokays hanging from ceilings didn’t
mean anything more than a wandering buffalo
months later I bonded with malaria techs
on a vector mission for tainted blood
all of us downing Mekhong whiskey
beneath a gibbous moon then headed
for the pink house where I waited until Oy
was free and by then just couldn’t do it
she stayed on my mind as I scouted
good sites for long range radar antenna
the picnic happened months after when
I teamed with four Kiwis volunteering
instructions to locals on proper road drainage
can we find some proper eats one asked
so off we traipsed for actual sandwiches,
cartons of beer and two actual banana cream pies
then I thought of the pink house even being
a sunny afternoon but the women were
reluctant to move it’d been a busy night
finally convincing them with promises
of big cash to jam into a Land Rover with us
and bump along to a quiet lake laughing teasing
eating half-stripping near the lotus-packed
water reflecting sharp blue sky
there’s a photo somewhere of me decked
with flowers lying on Oy’s lap in bliss
until someone spotted an isolated Buddha
Oy alone went to it and kneeled to pray
head bowed bringing quiet all around even
silence on the return except when Oy surprised
me by blurting out
I do this but I good girl
for some reason I was suddenly car sick into
the red clay ruts by the side of the road and
could not wait to head home and shower
now even hearing
the word pink makes me tighten up
go out and drink alone

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