come, child, sit in front of me
come, child, listen to my story
and the mirror –
hiding in your glimmering re – flect – i – on.
living without voice or soul,
laughing right there. in front of you –
the ghost as a female wearing
the palest smile;
a white horse. a lizard with a razor tongue
feeding on sand.
moving soulless grinding dreams in their sleepless days.
the ghost as a male
is a king without his crown;
a hissing snake in your ears:
woman, come with us.
woman, death is us.
woman, death be yours.
scintilla – before they were leeches.
breathing flower-scented air.
come, child, sit in front of me.
the story flows; no background tunes.
those who once had lived and run through the lines of the morning sun,
before they were leeches.
wind and sound and day and sword
lingered in their heart.
ripple and water and prayer and rhyme
broken down in laughter.
suddenly behind the mirror?
trust me, child, I’ve asked them the question for hundreds of time.
if they could make a sound and
if they had souls, they’d repeat this story and they’d tell you
a story of sins and lies and over and over, days on end,
teasing you with words
they stole from your mouth.
like you and I, they are also thieves.
look into the mirror, and maybe you will see
long waiting for you –
breastfeeding on your blood.
tears on sanguinary crowns and
closed windows are their fuel.
*modified and translated from the author’s poem of the same title in Indonesian that was written to accompany the muted “Kara, Child of a Tree” film at the House of Words on 9dec06