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30 Foreign Exchange Students | Lindsey Durway

By Siem Reap's Ruins, a New Night Scene | Stefene Russell

Party of 17 | Giacomo Volante

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Caroline Huth

CONTRIBUTORS Andrea (Avery) Decker, Brett Beckemeyer, Thomas Crone, Arpad Ikuma Czismazia, Jay David, Thom Fletcher, Dave Gray, Angela Hamilton, Devin Johnston, Chris King, Nicole Rainey, Emily Randall, Geoff Story, Eduardo Vigil

By Siem Reap's Ruins, a New Night Scene
from a headline in the NY Times, 5/23/05

by Stefene Russell

The alleys don't have names, nor do the small streets.
The lady won't know where she is
in the plaza of colored lamps
prettier than explosions,
or the address of the wooden house
where a man from Paris serves
blue pumpkin and lotus salad and green cocktails.

Later she'll pull a shining dress from a freezer
and crackle across the dance floor, tipsy on
cane sugar, tripping over ice shards falling from her skirt. Hands will be there to catch her.
So many people under this charming roof,
sipping and chewing, not sad for one second
that they've never been wide-eyed.

Day and night, the gods snooze: fresh concrete heads
cold in the government conservatory. Forgetting
about farmers fed to the crocodiles. Kids sleeping
on the backs of water buffalos.
Wheezing trash river, stone animals,
sarongs in colors that make your eyes smart.
Bandits sneaking around
with hand fragments of the Buddha.

The name for yellow robes in the day is fast asleep,
And the yellow light without a name falls through
night-time windows, keeping the strangers awake.


Stefene Russell was born in Salt Lake City, but will never leave St. Louis. She is working on a cycle of St. Louis poems that do not include any cameos of the Arch, though there are plenty of ghosts, attics, moss, rocks, cars and bricks.