Bryan Thao Worra One of the first Laotian American poets, Bryan Thao Worra currently resides in St. Paul, MN. His work has appeared in the Bamboo Among the Oaks Anthology, as well as Whistling Shade, Urban Pioneer, Unarmed, Astropoetica, the Asian Pacific Journal, and the Journal of the Asian American Renaissance. He  was also a 2002 MN Playwrights' Center Many Voices Fellow.


A stretch and sprawl of plain and hill
Where stones survive the coldest clouds,

You're jars and trails and scars
Rebuilding your shattered face
One hammered bullet at a time.

The true heart of Laos beats here
Desperate as a bush-meat market
Of endangered beasts,
Famished for change,
Weaving adversity into opportunity.

You're a place where
The long-haired goddess of Hope
Is always itching to leave, but she's
A good daughter who always finds
One more chore she's needed for,
Who never quite makes it out the door.

The Maidens of Sivilay

Here then, your mouth a chamber
Of earth, of brass, of lead and smoke.
Your hair is made of silenced poets!

Those lips of adamant tenderness