[Poem] Ode to Kao Niew

Ode to Kao Niew

by Krysada Panusith Phounsiri,
Originally featured in Dance Among Elephants, (Sahtu Press, 2015)

Evil Thip Khao

I meet you in Laos
as a seed
just a simple
existence of hard rice
seeded inside Huay Xai’s dirt
until water plains
cradle and nourish your infant body
’till you sprout above water banks
where you tickle yourself
with sunshine
like a child who spends all
day with the wind
when you mature
people pull your roots
carry you in bulk back home
along with your friends
moisten your skin
steam under flames and
boiling water
only a bath where
dirt splashes off
while you try to hold
breaths underwater
your skin does not wrinkle
only softens
to stick with other rice
and sink in perfection
of the basket
where my mother’s hands
shake and shuffle you
into a ball
to roll on a plate
now fully grown ready to
liberate our hunger
with your body
that is how we meet

everyday even now
when I chew you in big bites
you never fail to fill
my head with steam
and make my tummy your
cozy home
sometimes I eat you too fast
you burn my tongue

and mom says
I am crazy for eating too fast
but it don’t  matter
when I can cool
squeeze to pebble-size bits
dip you in fish soup
or papaya salad
Kao Niew
my family sits together
on the floor legs folded
or on a dinner table
you cuddle inside our bellies
warm our lips
…….   the way
…….   down
our throats
in cold evenings with no heaters
you sacrifice to
fill our stomachs
so we can stick to each other
and swallow
our love whole


Krysada Panusith Phounsiri, better known as “Binly” is a Lao-American Artist and Engineer. He was born in Laos in 1988 and immigrated to America with his family in 1989. Binly graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010 with a Physics & Astrophysics Double Major with a Minor in Poetry.  He pushes his passion for dancing, mainly the Hip Hop Street Dance known as Breaking, by traveling to various regions of the world to compete in competitions and teach workshops. He is also involved in developing the Snap Pilots Photography Project; a venture he and a friend created. His first book, DANCE AMONG ELEPHANTS was released in 2015 by Sahtu Press.

About Laomagination Media

Focused on a mission to develop a body of multicultural, multimedia resources that meets the needs of Lao Americans and their friends and families interested in the speculative arts, whether it’s science fiction, fantasy, horror or other artistic genres engaging the Lao imagination and heritage.
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1 Response to [Poem] Ode to Kao Niew

  1. nakon says:

    Really sweet and nice…writing with passion and sharing an exhilarating cultural experience. Nice work Binly!


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