There’s a restaurant in town
with petunias by the patio
and black veneer tables inside,
an orchid at every booth.

A photo of the late
King Bhumibol
presides over the two-stool bar
and a damsel fish aquarium.

We run into friends
before we settle into booth #3,
the minced chicken basil
just like the ka-prow-kai in Thailand.

I use chop sticks to savor the flavor
of fluffy rice and spicy sauce,
water to cool the palate.
Conversation comes to a stop.