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Khasis First

And as children, elders told us never to disturb the stones –
That is, the flat dolmen and the upright monoliths around it.
So we revered the stones, gave thanks to them, remembered.
We were Christians, but Khasis first.

In Mawphlang, we always feared the spirits of the Sacred Forest,
On Lum Kyllang, we remembered never to swear atop the dome,
To Lum Sohpetbneng, we made our pilgrimage like the faithful.
We were Christians, but Khasis first.

******************************************

In Jowai, I sunned myself, on the terrace of a rich man’s house,
Smiling at how frightened his sisters were of a new grave nearby.
Money has not changed them. Yet. They still fear the old fears.
They are Christians, but Khasis first.

Now the sacred stones are strewn aside, waiting to be ground;
Sacred woods are now in the way of progress and bulldozers.
Now we can explain away the fears, the tales of magical events
We are hardly Christians and no longer Khasis.

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