Photo by Nathan A Thompson

Mopeds and Incense



Under the thuggish sun,


two young monks—
a scrunch of orange
on a moped—
fly by like a fireball.




Dry Season


We move as if underwater, vomiting
beneath an atomic sky — the toilets drink


diarrhea. Dinner is noodle soup
surrounded by sweat-soaked napkins.


Our faces are liquid, eyes raw
and red as the setting sun.


Roads release dammed rivers
of heat. We wade through veils of brine


to Google and search for a diagnosis
to confirm our fear of drowning.




Subsiding is Bliss


On the road, a fresh corpse
beneath shades of neon—


in its right place, everything.


Palms down; quiet as a monk
skin creased with events.


A halo of blood reflects blades
of light from diesel-powered devas


spluttering incense.



Nathan A Thompson has written for The Guardian, Independent and Daily Mail. He is currently working on his first collection of poetry. He splits his time between a rural Cambodian village, where he teaches English at a Buddhist temple, and Phnom Penh. His portfolio can be found at

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