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The following two poems by Cyntha Hariadi with translation from Bahasa Indonesia by Norman Erikson Pasaribu are the second installment in The Pronoun folio of the Transpacific Literary Project. Find the rest of the folio here.

 
 
Dua Aku

 
Ketika kau keluar dari tubuhku
ada makhluk lain yang masuk menggantikanmu
aku, yang tak pernah orang kenal apalagi kau
aku, yang tak pernah aku kenal tapi menjadi aku karena kau

Tanganku yang memberimu makan
seperti tangan manusia atau hitam berkuku
panjang berbulu serigala?
Kapalaku yang memberimu nasihat kehidupan
bulat lembut atas keras bertanduk?

Mulutku yang menciummu
berbau bawang atau darah?
Hatiku yang mengasihanimu
berbentuk hati atau belati?

Percuma aku menjelaskan diri
mengingkari dan meminta maaf
karena apa bedanya manusa dan binatang, tanyamu
kau tak bisa hidup tanpa keduanya.

 
 

The First and Second I

 
When you crawled out of my body
another creature slipped into me and sat in your place
an I, who nobody has heard of, not even you
an I, who I’ve never heard of but has become me
because of you

My hand that held the rice and spooned it into your mouth
was it a gentle human hand, or black-furred
long-clawed like a she-wolf’s?
My head that spoke to you about life
was it soft and round, or hard and horned?

My lips that leaned forward to kiss you
did they smell—of blood or onion?
My heart that broke and took pity on you
could you see its shape then—a heart or a dagger?

You know it’s useless to explain yourself
to deny the truth or to ask for forgiveness
Why do we separate the human from the animal, you ask
when you can’t live without either of them.

 
 

Orang Hilang

 

I.
Ketika kau kehilangan kau,
siapa engkau?

Semua orang masih melihatmu
membeli kue di toko roti
memilih bunga di tukang bunga
menimbang ikan di pasar
menyeberangi lampu merah
melihat-lihat majalah
memandangi etalase toko baju
duduk di bangku taman.

Kau bilang, “Itu ibunya X, bukan aku.”

II.

Ketika kau kehilangan kau,
siapa yang mencarimu?

Anak merengek
suami mengeluh
kekasih meratap
ibu berdoa
ayah berpikir
kakak memanggil
adik termenung.

Kau bilang, “Mereka tidak tahu aku hilang karena aku
selalu ada di rumah.
 
 

Missing Person

 
I.

When you’re taken from you,
who will be you?

Though everyone still sees you
buying the birthday cake from the bakery
choosing flowers in the florist
scaling carp in the local market
crossing the street at a red light
browsing in the magazine corner
staring at the clothes in the window display
sitting alone at the park.

You say, “Hey, it’s X’s mother, not me.”

II.

When you’re taken from you
who will look for you?

Your daughter sobs
your husband grouches
your lover wails
your mother prays
your father ponders in the corner
your sister calls out your name
your kid brother turns to stone

You say, “Oh, they don’t know I’m missing
since I’m always home.”

 

 

Cyntha Hariadi and Norman Erikson Pasaribu

Cyntha Hariadi is an Indonesian writer of poetry and short fiction. A graduate of the New School for Social Research, her first book of poems Ibu Mendulang Anak Berlari [Mother Feeds, Child Flees] won third prize in the 2015 Jakarta Arts Council Poetry Book Manuscript Competition. She also has a book of short fiction, Manifesto Flora [Flora’s Manifesto] and is currently finishing a novel.

Norman Erikson Pasaribu is an Indonesian writer, translator, editor. Tiffany Tsao’s English translation of his first book of poems Sergius Seeks Bacchus received a PEN Translates Award and is forthcoming with Tilted Axis Press (UK, March) and Giramondo (Australia, May). Norman’s poetry and essay in English have appeared or are forthcoming in PEN Transmissions, Cordite Poetry Review, Overland Literary Journal, and Harana Poetry.

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