Essays upon Anthropological Knowledge


For the Phoenix

and the Liberation of Sen Ha

 By Hugh M. Lewis



Copyright 2000 by Hugh M. Lewis

Permission is granted to make copies of this document only for fair use in education and research.


I turn another page of my book

As I glance into your dark face

At first I see my informant's funny look

With tears in the corners of yellow, bloodshot eyes

I turn to the next page

And I look again into your face

To find the lines of lost youth

The wear and tear of age

And the blemishes of another life's vicissitudes

Beneath the rosy blush

And the blue-green mascara

Brushed faintly over epicanthic folds

My informant no longer appears tearful

And a smile soon breaks upon the swollen purple lips

Covered by glossy red lipstick

Revealing a mouthful of crooked white teeth

I turn the next page

Then I look again into your face

And find dark eyes of sadness

A puffy cheek that's been abused

A bump upon a low forehead

And scratch marks around the neck

My informant's face is hiding her troubles

Behind an innocent smile

Beneath the front of feline grace

Yet another page

I once again peer into your face

And there I find beneath the feminine mask

The tell-tale signs of advances you wish to make

A silent question you are too afraid to ask

Symptoms of suffering you cannot fake

There the lonely look of a lost child

Longing for the warmth of a dead mother's embrace

The image of a young adult grown suddenly old

From a new page

I see into my informant's face

A foreign past full of strife

Without the full flowering of life

In a world you've somehow missed

And again the next page

I look again into my informant's face

And there discover a touch of my own humanness

I peer into the puffy red eyes of my informant

And find the small reflections of my own face

In the black orbs of a dark distorted world

As I turn another page

I look back into the eyes of my informant

That look back through a world of lies

And there I finally find you looking into my world

I come to the last page

I look one last time into my informant's eyes

And there at last I find my friend

Waiting patiently at the other end

For me to finally close my book