Green Wail

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.

Amen.

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