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  • Writer's pictureAnne Mitchell

Burmese Lesson

In Mandalay my guesthouse hostess

Alice, served sweet milk tea in little glass cups.

“I was an English Professor at University

before they were all shut down.”

I mentioned Aung San Suu Kyi,

Letters from Burma, her eyes darted to the gate,

the song of street vendors wailed outside

her ivy-walled courtyard.


“They listen, the moles,

they know foreigners stay here-

take care with your words.”

Later, a midnight interrogation,

Alice’s high-pitched voice in defense.

Burmese I didn’t understand yet knew

I must hide the book behind

the filter of the air conditioner

while I waited for a knock on the door.




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