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Patiwangi: Renunciation

Works in Translation

Oka Rusmini, translated by Deborah Cole
Published as a part of Cordite Poetry Review — 40.1: INDONESIA, Nov 04, 2012

First published in Patiwangi as Patiwangi.

this is my new land a spring guarantees its existence fish embark on new love affairs branches bearing budding leaves fashion a burial ceremony I can smell all kinds of flowers and ritual offerings curse the feet I sink into soil the tinkling of bells arrests the compass powerless to guide the gods home In the temples I make a map to carry my colors to the sun’s family tree the earth broods, the soil buries its wrath no fragment of sound remains to set my colors free the men who are present challenge the sun awaiting their chosen woman’s hue no temple rites exist for them to perform the officiants can only inhale the incense required to recognize too many gods and still the men press their suits for my hand because of my name I need to possess a ritual history of this selection I will bathe posterity’s children clean

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