How can you think about the future on a day like this?
How can you study inside the house for a promotion?
When the warm air wants to lull away your memories and your sense of time;
I am listening to the Present present its case
In the blue jacaranda, the slow skin-breeze, drops of water.
I can’t remember the taste of bitterness, the cries of people in the bazaar, pain.
I know my father will teach me to swim in the black shining waters one day
I’ll forget the faces of Shillong, the words of poets I adore, I’ll forget my English;
When I resurface, father will row me across to the waiting grounds
There to quietly recite this prayer :
I want to give up human speech for the language of trees speaking love to the wind
I want to never be seen again as a man but a protruding rock on a hill
I invented a soul and may it always swirl in the skies over me
I pray the lichens and fungi accept me as their kin
May I never be grander than the moss on pine bark or the wiry orchids in the canopy
May I learn to be as capable as khasiana nepenthes
When I tire of the world of men,
May the green maiden embrace me
Scratch, bite, prick, and sting me
So that I may know myself;
Let the bamboo slivers have a drop of me
Let the thorn vines have a drop of me
Let my blood be familiar to all in the menagerie
Let it thaw into something warmer, kinder
Sister, when you hurt me,
Also fill me with the spirit to pull on,
Fill me with the air of your lungs,
The resolve of your stone
These I ask in your name.