By | 15 February 2023

The blonde tourist took her picture
before she walked towards my tuktuk,
pink-cheeked from the heat
and pressed colour.

Filipina, she confirmed.
That was all it took to charge her 300 baht less.

First, I’d have to take her to the silver shop.
She thought it was a fine idea.
(It was compulsory to the deal.)
Three temples should make her happy.

I took her to the holy white marble,
what was once the highest holy point
in Bangkok, then a sacred enclave
where she would get (enough of) peace.

I waited for her in parking spaces
while she surveyed the artefacts of
my religion. They may not deliver her
from clichés of momentary relief.

Nothing memorable can be said
in English, though I wanted to tell her
that Manila was probably
not too different from my city.

I went on being a driver
as she gave and withdrew smiles from
the traffic, an attraction of my daily travels.
Khob khun kha. Kamusta. Sawasdee. Salamat.

I could sense similarities in our tongues,
unnecessary trivia.
But she could mean something else.

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