Rush Hour Moto-taxi

Vuthy slips the bike into gear,
pulls up at my side,
whips away the stained rag that holds back the sun’s
searing heat, stops it
scorching the seat that I flop onto,
side-saddle.
 
Moving into the channel of traffic, bikes—
revving, idling,
sidling through the gaps
always finding a path,
making a play for any space
that comes their way.
 
My legs hang limp, ankles knock,
hook together, bounce, unfurl—
cool currents tease and please
soothe away the stresses of the day.
Exhausted heat radiates through swampy air,
pulses into my swinging calf.
 
Rocking with forward motion, side on
to the wall of his back—
right hand rests hot on his shoulder, my left
limp on sun cracked vinyl;
fingers trace fraying wounds and scabbed metal
as fumes plume and his knuckles flex on the brake.

 

 
More about this poem
 
A moto-taxi or more commonly ‘moto’ is a motorcycle taxi. They are common throughout Asia. Like ‘Cyclo’ this poem focusses on the experience of a short journey across Phnom Penh. ‘Side on to the wall of his back’ references the fact that it is common for women to ride side-saddle.
 
© Ammie-oy 2010
 

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