Tonight, two scenes float before my eyes.
One contains the wave-written undulating surface of the sea,
a long island resting like a peacefully sleeping Buddha,
an ash-gray drizzle of cloud concealing sun and sky,
and a friend—a companion to donkeys, honeybees, and frogs—
who just moments ago boarded a boat.
The other rests on a hospital bed in the land of exile,
a body wrapped tightly in layer after layer of white gauze,
the smell of fire not yet dispersed,
voices circling, chanting sutras, guiding the soul
of a nineteen-year-old child to peace….
I no longer wish to observe my people’s pain and suffering,
I can no longer bear to witness his mother’s sorrowful face.
—Woeser, July 22, 2017
(translated by Ian Boyden)