Empty House Susan Etole

A matter not of order


I was taught not to ask for more.
I took the smallest pieces,
left the last on the plate to deities,
bullies and elders. Train eyes,
the elders said, to want
what is already yours. So I stayed
out in the woods till jackals howled
and picked from the streets what was
lost or cast off. Sang songs
to a kindergarten teacher
who wore pink checkered dresses
and spoke in English when cross.
Now bigger is a sign of competence.
Was my heart stitched for this?
I am drifting into a world of enquiry
to quantify, qualify, even as
around me, summer performs.
Beetles, coal stunned in sun.
And little birds in gray
sing madly for food or love.

— Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, author of In the absent everyday

This poem is offered as part of our May theme: Swans, swallows, phoenix

All poems, art, and photos are public domain, creative commons, or used by permission of author or publisher. Photo by Susan Etole.
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