Sunday, June 10, 2007

come evening: east timor

The small boys that float intently after me
are as silent as birds sensing fall of night
and every bit as fleet

carrying my candle to the bathroom delicately
I know how easily it can be snuffed out at nightfall

even two hundred thousand candles burning on these grassy slopes (1)
could flit to black in the same moment’s gasp

if the wind tore strong enough
if markets and planting times were blockaded long enough.

When I enter the bathroom to place the still living candle
the door is pulled shut and the giggling of bird boys finds me

even nineteen years after dusk fell

with sharp wind and napalm from America.
Kissinger himself let the curtain drop on the sun (2)
then crackling forests gave abundant light
to the land.

May 1994

1. refers to the estimated 200,000 East Timorese who died after Indonesia invaded.
2. refers to Kissinger's (and Ford's) go ahead to Indonesia's army just before the invasion.

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