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A Difficult Day

published in Mar. 2003, kprach, dgrayson

· Sitting with Mama
· Maria
· Nine Crossings
· Mama and Her

· Fallopian Chron IV
· Why I Toast, I
· Why I Toast, II
· Why I Toast, III
· Scooter/Dot-Com
· Fallopian Chron II
· Fallopian Chron III
· Strange Bedfellow
· Almost Equal
· A Difficult Day
· Phantom Lover:
    Ode to
    Leslie Cheung

· I Am Salad
· Fallopian Chron I
· Taiwanglish
· Childhood's End
· Psychic Friends
· Life in the
    Time of SARS

· Waiting for
      the Goddess

· Roswell My Eye
· Catisfaction
· My Laramie Project
· Stopping on the
    Street for
    Coltrane: A Real
    Latter Day Saint

· Whither Moocat?
· Happy Palindrome!
· Happy Tiger
· Tourist for a Day
· Geography
    as Destiny

· "Bastards"
· Watching the
    Pentagon Burn

· Communing with

· Milk
· Infinity
· Emailing the Dead
· Broken Water
· Sand Shark
· Grandma Said
· Golden Days
· Americat
· Moe Howard on the
Death of His Brother,

· Flashpoems
· Minyan
· Inside Scoop
· Nativity
· I Ask My Mother
To Sing

· Absence of Colours
· Island Logic
· Peepshow Kleenex
· Allen Ginsberg
Forgives Ezra Pound
on Behalf of the Jews

· Lacing Your Shoes:
Haiku & the Everyday

· Four Haiku
· Smoking Haiku
· Geary & Jones,
Monday, 8:23 a.m.

· The Keeper
· december 13, 2001
· Memento Mori
· Football's Birthday
· The Edward Gorey

· Arrival
· Victim o'

· The Origin of
Teeth and Bones

· Questions for
Martins Ferry,

· This Is Just
To Tell You

· Not-Cat (& whatnot)
· To My Unmet Wife

· Englishhua
· Dave for Pope
· Papa Loves Mambo
· A Culture Report

· The Louisiana
A Special Radio X
Historical Docudrama

· Krawkawkaw Gives
a Little

· Meet Dr. Klaww
· Letters to Dr. Klaww
· Letter from the
Hall of Justice

· An Invitation
to be Keynote

· More

All Things

· Gajandra Meets
    the Scatoman

· Gajandra and
    the Curse of the
    Six Monkeys

· Gajandra and the
    Eating Lesson

· A Moment of

· Gajandra and the
    Great Rumble

· Gajandra and the
    Problem with

· Mohamed Tahdaini
· John Guillory
· Berkeley Pier
· Bruce Dene
· Death of The Bayou
· Taiwan Food Vendors
· John Freeman
· Robin Liu
· Hector
· Dave's Corner
· Zuni Kachinas

· Mainland Murmurs
· Next to Heaven
  · Episode #8

  · Episode #16
· Crosswords Brunch


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This excerpt is from a longer memoir by Kenya Prach, which tells the story of his childhood in Cambodia, surviving the Khmer Rouge, and his immigration to America.

I suppose it was inevitable that one day I would meet someone from my past.

Angkar had demanded bamboo to build baskets and huts for the village.

I was summoned by the group leader -- dressed in his black pajama pants and shirt, with a red and white checkered scarf around his neck -- to cut bamboo from a grove along the river about seven miles away.

Given only a small axe, and wearing only shorts, I walked the distance barefoot, crossing through woods and farmland. Even at this early hour, the air was hot and humid. It was going to be a difficult day.

The sharp bamboo leaves scratched and sliced my skin. But the mechanical rhythm of the work helped to dull my mind. Suddenly, while tying a bundle of bamboo, I saw four Khmer Rouge soldiers approach from the road. I recognized one as my best friend's older brother.

He knew everything about my familys Lon Nol government background. He knew that one of my uncles had been a government official who had resisted. I had seen young Khmer Rouge recruits savagely beat, even murder, family members for minor failures against Angkar.

It was unlikely he would extend me any favors.

"Met Leun!" I shouted, smiling nervously, using "Met" -- the word for comrade.

He recognized me instantly. "I know you...."

While the others watched me tying the bamboo with bleeding fingers, Leun crowed, "Now do you miss your warm bed, your big house, and wealthy family?"

I was shocked by his words. They were a death sentence.

"I will take care of you later," he said, and quickly walked away.

Standing alone, beside the bamboo grove along the lulling, slowly moving river, I was stunned. Leun's younger brother was my best friend. His family treated me and my brothers and sisters like one of their own. This man would be my death.

— Kenya Prach, with David Grayson

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