Spring 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2013 |


From the Burmese   I am you We sing We dance We bootleg Our image reflects on a black mirror Is this really life? It's very sweet To scenic slopes We can escape On the path of astonishing days The petroleum ration book for our cars was indispensable Now we ourselves are proscribed Like petroleum ration books Friends You can stay here as long as you want to You can stay here as long as our ideologies are impervious I don't know about ourselves yet Before the fire breaks out, before the collapse When unrelated relatives arrive I fear being inhospitable and irresponsible They are entering our streets with measuring tapes They are moving into our streets in removal vans We begin to blow vuvuzelas, anxiety-toned We blow our existential vuvuzelas We are you for you You are not us We resemble the multicolored flags Painted on our cheeks, on our foreheads, inside our heads Flags that will demast someday We resemble the public spaces The shopping malls, markets, schools On the finest

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James Byrne recently edited I am a Rohingya (Arc Publications, 2019). He is a poet, editor, and translator living in Liverpool, England.

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