The dance of the pine needles is the first to come
Followed naturally by a flock of birds whose names
Escape him now but whose songs are incessantly in his ears
And whose paths he followed for three summers
When his steps were yet swift and small.

It is like that morning when dreams are not that distant
And the mind chooses to project a classic black and white movie
Where clothes and places are distinct but faces are faint.

A while ago, he winked his eye at that face on the table
With a glossy skin and a perpetual smile
Before he smelled the rotting flesh of Ephialtes
As he lays waste the bodies of thousands in Thermopylae.

He sees something at the corner of his eye, a struggling kite,
A dilapidated public wash room where relief is for a fee,
The author of Mirgorod.

He had difficulties in forgetting
The things he hid inside his high school prom shoes,
Not even the ones he buried beside Indira’s grave.

It is as if the wind’s answers were translated as an arrow
Whose only target has become the hippocampus,
Where the sounds and the sights are as fresh and vivid
As that afternoon at the park or that proposal
On that midnight boat ride.

No wonder he watches obscure soap operas
Before he sleeps in the sala sofa.
No wonder he burned those notes and rhymes
As he dreamed of booking
A one-way flight to the Island of Kiribati.

by A. G. Bawang

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