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Thursday, January 04, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

The index of the Stock Exchange of Thailand is likely to fall
when the stock market is open on Wednesday due to
investors' worries over the New Year's Eve bombings in
Bangkok. –All Headline News, January 2, 2007


Two days before Christmas. Her husband smiles at his two-year-
old grandniece. She smiles back. She rips the napkin out of his
sweater: no bibs! He replaces it and she pulls it off again. Her
father, across the room, points and shoots. Digital cameras are
recycled as quickly as baby clothes.


When she was a child her parents complained she never smiled
when they took pictures. To this day her face can ache from the
forced smiles after days with family. She blinks her eyes. She feels
a migraine coming on. But this is his family, not hers.


Rejoining them at the dinner table, the nephew talks of a business
trip, part of a marketing course. A week in either Thailand, Hong Kong, or
          Vietnam. All up and coming business markets. He
chooses Thailand, "Land of Smiles." He's leaving four days after
Christmas. The niece picks up the camera now. Smile. Wave bye-
bye to Daddy. Daddy wants you to remember him.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.