September

City gates are shut.
The thoroughfares
are quiet.

The pandemic threatens
individual lives.
War is not over yet.

September —
friends,
mates,
lovers,
I long for them from a distance.
I converse with them from a distance.
From a distance
I remember them.

September —
in an arid afternoon
I find myself alone,
like a ghost.

In a flash
I miss you.
I send metta to you;
may you be well,
from a distance.

**

Translated from the Burmese by Ko Ko Thett for the forthcoming "Picking off new shoots will not stop the spring: Witness poems in essays from Myanmar (1988-2021)", edited by Ko Ko Thett & Brian Haman, forthcoming from Ethos Books in January 2022.

Maw Min Thann classical guitarist, writer and poet, passed away from COVID-19 in his hometown of Mandalay on 29.07.2021. His guitar performances often accompanied poetry readings in Mandalay. The poem, dated 13.09.2020, was written during the first wave of COVID-19 and the lockdown in Mandalay.