Behind snow-clad ranges is an enormous plateau of unfulfilled dreams. Beyond margins that draw lines between nations, wild horses gallop the bewildering landscape of a rugged people to whom he belonged.
Reluctantly he had abandoned a residence of nomadic summers, virgin grasslands, and buttermilk stories. He survived the forty-day walk, accepted
a refugee here, promising he would go back home one day.
We welcomed him but we did not love him. We allowed him to serve us his exotic dumplings, sell us trendy garments we otherwise could not afford, burn himself every once in a while when he is desperate and angry.
He met her on neutral ground. She loved him and he loathed her. Before the day was over, after he had insulted her family and branded her relatives with an unacceptable name, he slowly and grudgingly acknowledged:
I never knew there were good Chinese.
There was spiritual electricity in the room. Complaining led to confessing, led to forgiveness, led to weeping. And after all the nonsense was over, he walked to the front alone, trekking the uneven terrain of the memory
of rights trampled, tanks rumbling, monks fleeing, protesters flaming, and said: here in these foothills I do not call home, I too forgive.
Almond Syiem is from Shillong in Northeast India. He writes poetry, songs, short stories, and reflections on themes related to politics, justice, reconciliation, relationships, and Christian spirituality among others. His poems have appeared in publications such as Indian Literature, The New Welsh Review, Artem, and some anthologies. He has also published two collaborative works, a poetry-photography e-book with Australian photographer Timothy Wallis (Sleepless, 2014) and a poetry-sketch work in e-book and hardback versions with Australian sketch artist George Tetlow (2016). He shares some of his poems in his blog www.poeticlogik.wordpress.com and true-life short stories in his other blog www.storythejourney.wordpress.com.