Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CAMBODIAN BOX, by KAREN SWENSON



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THE CAMBODIAN BOX, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The silver betel box is formed by two geese
Last Line: Mated perfectly as these shining geese.
Subject(s): Cambodia; Carving (arts)


The silver betel box is formed by two geese
nestled closely as a contented couple
in their silver scallops of feathers.

Empty in the shop window in Bangkok
of all but its beauty,
what household of servants and polished teak
did it belong to
before it came through the jungle in a pocket
to buy a month's rice?

The able hands,
brown as bread crusts,
that formed this sheen of necks and breasts
are matched by another pair,
the color of rouge,
which practice death's craft
in the paradox of hands
mated perfectly as these shining geese.





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