Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

My rice tastes like the lake

It is not everyone’s desire to swim as a fish.
I have a little dog that behaves like a cat,
it is not his fault he cannot pass the discipline test. 
A fault line runs through the city center
sullen as a stretch mark under a dress;
we believe our undoing comes from one source. 
An escape plan is our solace. There are words, 
there are stories we never tell. She said
on the radio, my rice tastes like the lake.
It was a perfect sentence.

After inferring to a beloved a thought acquires 
confidence: I am waiting to live. If living is simple 
why must we labor to speak of it? It is not possible
to recall everything, words or their trajectory.
At the water’s side – tide in context – I do not plunge 
head under to ask who survives. In the synopsis 
toward progress, might a story become
an apology? To clarify, a point of view
is assigned. Exemptions are in
the generalizations so I adopt experience 
as lesson and use fish and flotsam
for metaphor and analogy. Of all, best, 
the idea of duplicating a life lived 
because I miss her.

Inconsistent in the minutiae, we adopt
a language of propinquity so you and I maintain 
a notion of self. A principle of permanence is 
mis-knowledge if the daisy in the daisy is
the argument: essence, sense, nonsense.
It is ground I solicit to keep balance,
to memorize the contrariety of a journey
in a sequence of form, of history.
Blue lake holds eyes accountable to borders, 
exile, escape. What transcribes feelings
into a ritual to make them sacrosanct?

Alas, attachment perforce is a mother tongue.
In mother’s dictum all objects serve a task. An
antique table has form but lacks height so it stays
a secret. Our duty we learn early, tethered to the custom 
of old country patience within discussions of internal 
time. The gelid air is good for caution and for displaying 
ancestral leanings but even that presupposes tact.
For forty-nine days we seek to bring the dead
to awareness; it is words again that lead them astray. 
Rituals betray a desire to propitiate my own
thoughts, to be perfect, so as to be misinterpreted.

Insofar as a hair clip reveals a potential
for flourishes or a rubber band gathers
in the way the family cannot, a spectacular 
stone, for stone is everywhere, is surrendered 
to an idea. On its own, it too is not alone.
I am not the same to you as I am to me
and therein lies my solitude. Windows turn 
blue at dusk when each household selects
a drama they watch from afar. The world, 
such a pretentious word, but there it is 
circling inside, outside clouds part
and align as to suggest they too are at liberty. 
In the dark, or in its shadows I liken myself 
to a room where I see what I come to know.