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FICTION & POETRY

In the Yoma Foothills

That’s how I began my flight; full of doubt.
VOL. 2 ISSUE 1
POETRY

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"Sleeping Mangroves" by Isma Gul Hasan. Mixed media (2021). The rapidly disappearing mangroves of Karachi viewed at night around Kemari.

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"Sleeping Mangroves" by Isma Gul Hasan. Mixed media (2021). The rapidly disappearing mangroves of Karachi viewed at night around Kemari.

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26 Feb 2023
Poetry
Myanmar
Poetry
Myanmar
Military Coup
Dissident Writers
Revolution
Pogroms
Tatmadaw
Rohingya
Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Trauma
Picking Off New Shoots Will Not Stop the Spring

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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. 

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