FICTION & POETRY
In the Yoma Foothills
VOL. 2 ISSUE 1
That’s how I began my flight; full of doubt.
TUN LIN SOE
IT WAS one of those foggy mornings.
As if they were offering a wreath
to a squad of soldiers off to war,
a flock of birds sent me off with chirrups.
That’s how I began my flight—
full of doubt.
My beloved parents,
brothers and sisters,
relatives from near and far,
childhood friends who stay friends to this day,
and above all, my girlfriend, my heart of hearts,
for each of the teardrops they shed
I was responsible.
Now that I’d left them
my soul got restless,
my spirit drained of vigour
I wept for hours.
The tall trees in the jungle
witnessed my creaky-creaky cries.
I thanked them all,
those who pushed me onto a raft upstream to drown,
those who abased themselves before me,
and those who, possessed with greed,
lifted me higher so they could shove me off a cliff,
and those who loved me back,
I thanked them all.
I thanked God
for keeping me safe in the wilderness.
He heard my prayers
those nights and days
in the Yoma foothills. ▢
This poem appeared in Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop the Spring: Witness Poems and Essays from Burma/Myanmar 1988-2021, edited by Ko Ko Thett and Brian Haman, and published by Gaudy Boy in North America, Balestier Press in the UK, and Ethos Books in Singapore.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
"Sleeping Mangroves" by Isma Gul Hasan. Mixed media (2021). The rapidly disappearing mangroves of Karachi viewed at night around Kemari.
Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop the Spring
TUN LIN SOE, a Rohingya poet, was born in 1987, in Min Gyi Ywa (Tula Toli) in Maung Daw, Rakhine State, Myanmar. He was a final year English major at Sittway University, when a pogrom against the Rakhine Muslim population broke out in Sittwe in June 2012. At the end of 2012, his name was on a list of arrest warrants for 30 people, accused of colluding with insurgent groups and international media outlets. Since 2013 he has been living in Malaysia as a refugee.
26 Feb 2023
ISMA GUL HASAN is an illustrator from Lahore, Pakistan. She completed a Master’s in Illustration from University of the Arts London in 2020, and has worked on various storytelling and social awareness projects, including the critically acclaimed animated short, Shehr-e-Tabassum. Their personal work, which has been exhibited locally and internationally, explores otherworldly landscapes and organic forms, feminist dreams and longing, and visual manifestations of trauma and despair. hasan is currently living, teaching and creating in Karachi, Pakistan.