The Tree of Life is flowering;
clusters of yellow showering
golden petals
in seasonal abundance
on bare roads.

One hundred and twenty-one Burmese,
including fourteen children,
travelled east looking for work
in a locked air-tight container;
twelve square metres
of standing,
jolting pot-holed tracks
and double- backs.

When the ventilator failed,
they started screaming
and banging the walls.

At Ranong
the driver unlocked Freedom’s door.
Finding the death count fifty-four,
he fled headlong.

Those who survived
have been given
two months in prison
before being returned.

The faded petals
have been heaped
by the roadside
and burned.

(from BAMBOO LEAVES ~ poetry in Thailand)


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