Lantern Review | Issue 7.2

Kaysone Syonesa

Minneapolis, 1990

Sun beating along the tresses
of my brown skin
For $3 an hour, a girl could make a living
eating sticky rice on the front porch
of forgotten yesterdays, daydreamed tomorrows
I stack another wood next to the bundles
and watch my sister’s hands craft
splintered woods
into smooth wounds made of tears
I lean over
brush her hair off her
furrowed brows
Water drips along
her heated cheeks
Mixing the heat of hard labor
and broken chipped heart
The scent of her breath
transports my grandfather back
to me
He sits on the edge of the makeshift,
shapeshifting boat,
tracing his hands
along the tattered edges
He waits
for his boat to finish
to take rice
to the open market
along the river
For 300 kip, a young man could dream of making a living
planting sticky rice on the fields
of lost yesterdays, unpromised tomorrows

Photo of Kaysone Syonesa Kaysone Syonesa is a Lao American theater artist and playwright with a BA in theater arts from the University of Minnesota. She has a theater background as a performing artist/actor, director, set/costume designer, and playwright. She has performed for over thirteen years with various theater companies in the Twin Cities, including in recent productions by Pangea World Theater, Teatro del Pueblo, and Green T Productions. She has also directed and devised an original theater work called Sticky Rice Drama with artists and youth of color as a platform to uplift diverse and underrepresented voices in Minnesota. • Photo by the author.

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