Noh Anothai


They didn't have the fifteen-minute swab
and the blood tests could take more than a week.
In bed, have I been acting like a slob,

like how I keep my room? What if it robs
me of my golden years? No. Please don't wreak
havoc on my health.
                                         Last time I got the swab,

I was living in Chicago. I would stop
by Halsted Center, swab my inner cheek.
Even in those days I was never a slob

in bed, no matter if I bottomed or topped
—not really. Maybe one or two mistakes.
(Does oral count?) Someone would take the swab;

I'd watch the numbers on the timer drop,
play cool. Thank God I got those answers quick.
I've been more careful since—at least, no slob.

(What would I do? What if? What if?) A throb
runs through my arm. Sleeping Beauty. Spindle prick.
They didn't have the fifteen-minute swab.
In bed, have I been acting like a slob?

Noh Anothai was a researcher with the Thailand-United States Education Foundation (Fulbright Thailand) from 2011-12. In that time he hosted cultural events and translated programs for Thailand's Ministry of Culture and College of Dramatic Arts. The winner of Lunch Ticket's inaugural Gabo Prize for Translation and Multi-lingual Texts in 2014, Anothai's original poems and translations of Thai poetry have appeared in several journals, including most recently RHINO, Structo (UK), Pilgrimage, The Berkeley Poetry Review, and Words Without Borders.

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