No Scam, Affection by Matthew James Friday

Mondul 3 village, Siam Reap, Cambodia

No Scam. No hassling.
No dead-eyed demand for a dollar
from the inner city beggars
who scurry around the 24 hour bars
and bustling fake-goods markets,
sniffing out the easy-touch tourists
when they should be at school
adding up their few chances.
Just my hand. Snatched
from me with a Cheshire Cat grin
by a little girl, as old in years as
the number of fingers she is clasping,
hair rough like the muddy road
that slithers through her village.
A boy joins us, taking my other hand,
swinging it, swatting it, laughing –
he could give ‘high 5’s’ forever.
Another boy, flapping about inside
an adult’s collared shirt, so happy
to be with, so shrunken inside the shirt,
grabs my thigh and won’t let go.
We walk and more children
come and go, tiny slum-eyes
smiling from hope to hope.
When we leave one tiny girl,
smaller than her chances,
watches, waves, eyes widening.



Matthew is a professional writer and graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmith College, London. He’s had poems accepted for publication in the following magazines and literary journals: A Handful of Stones, Bolts of Silk, Cadenza, Carillon, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Earth Love, Erbacce, Envoi, Finger Dance Festival, Gloom Cupboard, IS&T (Ink, Sweat & Tears), The New Writer, Third Wednesday, Of Nepalese Clay, Pens on Fire, Pulsar Poetry, Red Ink, South, and Writing Magazine. Visit his website here.