08 March, 2005

The Backyard Garden

This morning I gave you a massage on the back,
As did the eucalyptus oil and ointment balm.
The backyard of your body only sees the back part
Of a world that you passed by--
The very part that sums all those moments of walking backwards.

Neither your back, the oil nor the balm comprehends
If the travel is ahead or backward.
The world behind us always shrinks with distance,
Its details reappearing as the rain
Comes down, when the bean shrubs flourish with foliage.
I feel dizzy, you said, the kind which is leafless.

Thus I must return to the backyard right from your head down the neck.
We leave nothing behind by walking backwards, I said, and your
Back seems to hold all the beans and warm air from the god's neck.
Yes, we leave nothing behind this way, you agreed.
The bean shrubs in the garden do not walk backward, though:
They don’t part with the soil and are never after any garden benches.

Come on, sweetheart, let's plant our tomorrow
Where we see time move like the shrubs
In our backyard,
in the garden of time.

Di Halaman Belakang, by an Indonesian poet Afrizal Malna. The original appeared in Kompas Minggu, 6 March 2005. This translation is my 2nd attempt.


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