Sky Song | Taleng Nitom

By | 1 October 2016

Translated from the Adi to the English by the writer.

The evening is
the greatest medicine-maker
testing the symptoms
of breath and demise,
without appointment
writing prescriptions
in the changing script
of a cloud’s wishbone rib
in the expanding body
of the sky.

We left the tall trees standing.
We left the children playing.
We left the women talking
and the men were predicting
good harvests, or bad
that winged summer
we left, racing with
the leopards of morning.

I do not know
how we bore the years.
By ancient, arched gates
I thought I saw you waving
in greeting or farewell
I could not tell,
when summer
changed hands again
only the eastern sky remained;
one morning
flowering peonies
swelled my heart with regret.
Summer’s bitter pill
was a portion of sky
like a bird’s wing
altering design,
a race of fireflies
bargaining with the night.
Attachment is a gift of time,
the evening’s potion provides
heaven’s alchemy
in chromosomes of light
lighting cloud-fires
in thumbprints of the sky.

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