I spend a few minutes scratching a mosquito bite on my calf to pass the time.
I pull on each of my fingers til the knuckles pop.
I ate my lunch of chicken and rice with my hands
so now they smell like fried skin and crushed chilies.
I think about the rat I saw looking happy
as he sauntered across my path.
I think about the other rat I saw flattened by a tire,
his organs a wet splotch absorbing into the dirt.
I think about the women in cages who I'm helping by editing press releases.
And the little girl on the back of a motorbike
with a smile so sweet I had to stop walking and wave.
There's a man on my floor from Australia with white hair and gut
who likes to cook at night and laugh with the Indonesian girls.
He's never spoken to me.
There's a fish tank in my office with baby manta rays
and there's catfish outside struggling in the drainage ditches.
There's nothing in this city that's unique
save the fact that everything's in this city.
There's nothing in this city someone hasn't ingested
or won't ingest.
Everything burns. Or cooks.
- September 26, 2011