I Shine My Shoes

I shine my shoes
because I love my country.
The red April dust, kicked
up by trucks and tuk-tuks and
thieves and young mothers, is
no match for my love for
my country.

For years in the temple I
sat orange draped praying,
calling wandering souls back
home. I remember
the rays of sun, golden
snakes rising in heat
mirages. The hot floor on my feet.

Now I shine my shoes
because I love my country.
My buttons, shirt, and pants match
Mekong waters at midday. A
perfect crease falls from my knee
as I ride to the ministry. Below:
specks of red dust, gold shavings, my smile.
 
 
Shourya Sen was born in Calcutta, India and grew up in New York, NY. He currently lives and works in Vientiane, Laos as a teacher through the Fulbright program.