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.

And above:
My smile.
I shine my shoes
(stand tall, hair part, run, stand tall
my smile)
because I love
my country.




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.



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