The Red Sangha (from “The Island”)

He was a monk in Yangon
near the Insein prison
he tended the geese that
chased us down the road
he liked to stand at
the gates of the pagoda
smoking a cigarette
tattoos on his left arm
he joined the Saffron Revolution
where he was killed
I saw his bloodless body, heard
the echo of gunfire
the rattle of beads on
the pavement
the voice of the General, but
these days
I divorce my husband and
abandon my children
I forget
my aged father
I let my friends
take me
to the borders of the old country
where I shed my longyi and
my tears for the robes
of the red sangha
there is no cause for revolution
no one will disturb my mourning
of the monk
I don’t have to wait
for the sunrise that will
never come
I have a cup of tea
that will never empty
because of the feast, the Ahlu,
because of the water
libation you gave for me
but I will return
and keep returning until
the misery of the world
has gone

Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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