LAST WINTER

It was a little too early in the morning to walk to the train station
the air still wet
the pavement reeked of pot

A homeless man overtook my lazy stroll
I reached into my pocket: no quarter for you my man,
or your empty beer can

A pile of paper on ohms, impedance,
and the immortal flow of energy:
forget the discounted airfares on the shop windows
there will be no more love in the tropics
this winter!

And I thought about the Ancar river, yours,
its own immortal flow
and the unavoidable
arguments in the kitchen
the shifting of sand and water

Under the red awning of Waroeng Java
8.30 a.m.
“1 pesan diterima”
“you’re not going home this year?”

Do you think it’s ever appropriate
to thumbclick a reply
for a woman
who has given away nine months
of her womb?

I looked at Meneer Deventer across the road
his centuries of stiffness
crumpled my train ticket into a ball
and made a beeline for the postkantoor:
“Dear my island home,
you little dot on a globe,
I still hold you responsible for me, and my hopes.”

– Ida Ayu Oka Suwati Sideman, ‘Winter Terakhir’, from Perempuan Bali di Rantau

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