One Duck Egg (Pong Teah)


Sokunthea Oum-Fite


Shuffling quietly in the darkness of early dawn

Trickling water poured into a cup, gulping down

Wearing the only set of mud dyed tattered clothes she owned

Ragged krama draped around her neck to keep her warm

Mother turned around climbed down

The rung steps of the stilt hay roof, dried palm frond walls hut

Her barefoot steps hasten against the dry dusty dirt to catch up with the voices distant away. 

Singular skinny silhouette disappeared into the distant horizon


Day after days mother left before sunrise

Dusk after dusk she returned exhausted

Face wearing worries and fear

Her dear children skin and bone

Heads looking like Ti Mong


Mother came back from the field one day.

Unrolled her pants waist, carefully pulled out a magnificent egg.

Boiled it in the kettle with care.

Peeled it gently and buried the shell hurriedly

Divided it amongst us five children,

Take care to give more to our youngest because of his feebleness. 

Leaving nothing for herself.

Day after day we wait for her return like chicks in nest to be fed

Snail, grasshopper, crickets, tarantula, millipede

We awaited with anticipation what the rolled pant waist holds.