Mamang Dai

I did not want to be in small rooms
full of cigarette smoke and glasses,
yielding to such confinement
every time we meet.
Through the open door the night wind pours in
full of ghosts and gods, such gods
inaccessible beyond voice and pleading,
and still we fell before them every time
like gravity
placing rings of light
in the path of the rising shadows

I write for consolation,
for news to reach me like a new discovery.
No, we did not want to fool ourselves,
to configure destiny;
But still my heart breaks in such regret
for the failure of words

You, holding the night hostage
promising such returns
with trembling thoughts and arms.
An archer to realign the stars,
and me,
falling into the patient well of the universe
asleep and dreaming,
the twin serpents entwined
across my nebulous path

And all across the land they are singing
the big trees have fallen, breaking our dreams.
And all across the land they are still singing
blind eyes, blind space
still expanding, full of hope.

Do not ask how remedies are made.
The carriers of dreams bring small sustenance,
a radiance in the wind.
On a soft summer’s day
intent on the voices of children
we stand on the turning road again
planting green seedlings.