I have loved her,
cleaved from the rice fields and now sprawling endlessly,
a muddy river flowing through her belly,
now tinged with red.
I have been held by her well into the morning,
dreamed of nothing else but her decaying breath,
and the flower markets bustling through the night
on the verge of closing.
I have spent endless hours wandering the alleys,
discovering her exotic secrets,
and I have felt inside her a tangible suffering,
the wasting lives, and the coming violence.
But this is a land of free people
who will not listen to dictation.
And if she must paint herself once more
then let her color be red
just as a single staff colored the Nile.
A single crimson bead now rests on my fingertip
as dusk refracts towering silhouettes against a fiery horizon,
and a ruby net trolls through the Andamon sea.
She is no stranger to storm.
When lightning cracks her sky, it shatters the towers,
the monsoons tumble and rise in the streets,
and the city trembles, alive.
In such a place, one must not acknowledge fear
or tears to regret the lives that could be,
once lost, lost forever, but the vibrancy of a golden dream
dances with bats along the canal tunnels.
Awash against her flooded riverbanks, what little hope can we have
when backs are bent and bodies graying in the streets?
Only that quiet red light lifting over the city at dawn, the fleeting knowledge
that we have tried and lived our lives as they should be.
And when finally that day should come
let her sit and dictate my color to me
and she must know from where comes the crimson bead on my finger,
and see how I have crushed it against my cheek.