They say a landscape drops from heaven
tangled with possibilities;
And a summer sun that directs the perfect balance
between the moment and the word
when everything falls into place.
Your laughter opens the world, creating space.
We could have diverted boats and nets
and claimed the words of the rose,
entering a house, shy as a dove,
Exchanging words to help each other survive.
But words are like water, flowing away--
These floating lines
but the tender scars of witness on a page,
replacement words, shaped around a hope.
Right from the start we knew how it would be.
It was about truth, or the recognition of it,
but the journey of words proved nothing.
We neither gave up nor decided anything.
In another world someone holds my hand.
My life is changing every day.
in open water
the plume of water rising to fly
is the surrender of letters into the great circle
beyond language and the desperation of words
where the world is scalloped like a shell,
and the waves are roaring
in no direction,
turning with the growth and bend of the sun.
Mamang Dai is a poet and novelist from Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh. A former journalist Dai also worked with World Wide Fund for nature in the Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspots programme.
In 2011 Dai was awarded the Padma Shri (literature and education), and the Sahitya Akademi Award 2017, for her novel The Black Hill, in English. Her latest publication is Escaping the Land (novel), Speaking Tiger Books LLP, New Delhi, December 2021.
Dai lives in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India.