Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy. His work has appeared in many journals, including Post Road, North American Review, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection, and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. Visit his website.

On Libations: “In my youth, I could not pass up a bottle of Woodchuck hard cider, despite the haranguing my southside Chicago friends gave me, who believed in beer only. I say, drink what makes you happy, even if it comes with an umbrella and cherry! 

Ira Sukrungruang

Into the Keeping of Men

There walked a woman today, at the grocery

store, who turned the heads of the meat men behind

refrigerated steaks. How they devoured

her elegant stride. How her presence was body

without mind. They will remember her―only

briefly―as the one with long legs, the one with gracious

hips, and she will be catalogued

away with infinite others, a forever list

of parts.

Giorgione, when you painted Venus, reclined,

her hand seductively positioned above her groin,

what dreams did you give her? Did you fill

her head with the scent of olives and Tuscan

suns? Does painter and subject occupy

the same breath?

My wife sits alone

in her room, the night air

laden with grief,

a guitar on her lap. How do I paint

her voice and the sound of pluck chords? How do I

capture the beating within her chest,

the sad song singing in her heart?

I am learning to see.

First, I close my eyes.

Photo by Seth Long