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Alvin Pang, from When the Barbarians Arrive


On that day the tide will turn
and softly bring its crested head
to rest on the cheek of shore.

The jambu tree will shed
moist leaves, returning to earth
its debt of tears.

Every cloud will move
into its chosen place. Even the sun
will understand their boldness.

For so long I have listened to the call
of mountains in their loneliness,
the river’s thirst to follow ocean.

I know the years trapped in you
like so many birds, their wings
the very flutter of your heart.

At that hour, I will uncage
your body's sadness with my own,
and make the sound locks make

springing open.