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Joanna Vogel
Joanna is currently a student of poetry at Emerson College in Boston, Mass. and, while she is terribly afraid of the ocean, she feels a deep affection for the
angler fish; nobody wants to be his friend and he must be fairly lonely, lurking about in the deep and the dark... She is originally from Queens, NYC. Her favorite
activity is listening.  
www.qhstlitmag.blogspot.com
Buddha Face
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The men who spit. The men who sweep the leaves from the stones with brooms of bundled twigs. The women who wear surgical
masks to gather the leaves into a tarp. Take them away. The tree roots that ooze centuries over ruined stone. Cracked women
etched in stone, broken
Nagas reigned in by headless giants punctuated by hello madam, have a look some picture please? and
you so beautiful, buy some bracelet please? some flute? some postcard? Postcard? Postcard?
The little children peddling
postcards and jewelry. The little girl who spoke to us in six languages on a school day pushing her
bracelet bracelet bracelet,
have many different one, you can buy?
and argued with us over the rate of conversion. Tapped on my window as the driver took
us away to the next set of rocks.

Buddha smiles a soft stone smile, peeking his tiny face out of the tree roots--he knows something, sees the sandals and
sunglasses, baseball caps and cloth hats with wide, wrinkled brims. Sees the windup cameras and digital flashes...

A child tries to sell me a decorative plate with my face stamped on it. Where did she get my face? I touch my nose to make sure it
is still there and retrace all of my steps: remember the grains that came away from the walls on my fingertips, remember the
shape of the guardian lion's mouth on my palm--how I wanted to go home with one of his teeth. Remember the steepness of the
temple's steps, how it was I and the sun and the uneven rock, climbing and climbing... But on her plate is just my face against the
sky and I touch my cheeks to make sure they're still there and they are.

We drive away and she stands in the road, waving her plate--my face--at the rear windshield shouting
One dollar! One Dollar!
Somewhere in the temple Buddha smiles his knowing smile, the tree roots grow thicker, and as soon as we round the bend in the
road, I forget her face entirely.
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