Bill Sullivan

Go, sad letter

Go, sad letter.
Let the world know that once I
laughed and played in the Thai
fields and shyly eyed my first
love, Yuan, on my thirteenth birthday.

By the times the rains had ceased
and the rice had been harvested,
we had shared stories, sang songs,
and dreamt of the cloudless days ahead.

Let them know that the sun disappeared
when the Bangkok broker came to appraise
the young girls of my village. I rue
the day he cast his greedy eyes on me.
To my penniless father he offered a way
to pay his bills; to me a new life in the city
where I would find a rewarding career.

Let your readers know I was not deceived.
When my father counted the broker’s loan,
and I heard the agent say my work would pay
off the debt, my heart splintered and a woeful wind
swept the pieces away. When I left with the broker,
I could not look at my father for one reason.
And I could not look at Yuan for another.

Sad letter, let all the too young- to- be women
In Thailand, Cambodia, the Ukraine, Turkey
Hungary, Columbia and America know
that there is no glamorous city awaiting them.
Explain that only pain, abuse and imprisonment
reside there. Tell them that in this and other
carnal houses we are forged and hammered
into sex slaves, sex machines, forced day and night
to pollute our bodies, to hollow out our souls,
until we are of no worth to anyone
-not our parents, not our suitors, not the villagers,
not the urban dwellers. All will turn their heads;
all will say we are unclean, unredeemed, unwanted.

But before you close, become an angry letter.
Scald with boiling words the shameless men
who come sneaking through these doors
doing to us what they would not do to their
daughters or sisters. Out the corrupt authorities
who close their eyes as they collect their bribes.
As for the perpetrators, demand that they be paraded
through the streets and then sentenced to wander
under the distant desert’s blistering sun where
they can begin their life-long penance.

When you do this, I shall sign my name.

Bill Sullivan is professor emeritus, Keene State College, Keene, NH. He currently has a poem posted on Babelfruit and just received an artistic merit award from The Writer's Circle's national poetry competition for his poem, "Voiceless."

(author retains copyright)