The Thai people,
I’m told,
Like holidays—
All sorts of holidays:
Chinese, Buddhists, Christian;
All great occasions
To decorate the monster shopping malls.

Downtown, on Plenchit Street,
In a restaurant where I eat lunch—
Shrimp with cashew nuts,
Diet Coke with ice;
Kung gap med mamuang
Kok Zero, namkeng
An elderly waiter
Bent with age,
Bold except for
A few wisps of hair,
Is wearing a bright
Santa Clause hat.

He moves slower than usual,
He’s bent even lower than usual,
His eyelids are droopy,
The ridiculous hat is droopy.
My shrimp doesn’t taste right.