A Future Author in Plateau Migration
Poem by Annie Bien. Photo by
Günther Bedson.

Faint-scented peonies tumble petals:

Once I wore a silk gown, plucked my brows.
Once I wandered the plateau walking my yak.
Once I was a mouse nibbling butter from an offering lamp.

Under collapsed temple beams, as guardian deity
I growled: eyes and tongues bulged:
my heads stared with many eyes:
my mouth gaped:
my stone feet flexed in mid-step.

I am tied by rusted bonds  
to shared genes.
I migrated to a new land, stripped.
In my native land,
a pioneer settled, slashed
word-symbols, de-tongued
indigenous peoples,
erased and re-chalked
history with acetone,
proclaimed inheritance.

Once I was a beggar, a rabid dog
touched by a monk unafraid of my disease.
I loved him. I followed him around
and around the sacred temple.
Even when the soldiers came
and smashed his skull
I waited for them to leave.
I licked his hand.
Many lives later,
we will meet.
Perhaps I'll be the monk,
and he the dog.
Or I will be a girl
and he a boy-
I'll embed his caress
to return, when we meet again.

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