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Tuesday, January 24, 2017


by Jo-Ella Sarich

Myo Yan Naung Thein "spent six months in prison last year after posting a satirical poem to Facebook deemed insulting to the then president Thein Sein. Two of the lines read: 'I have a tattoo of the president’s face on my penis / My wife is disgusted.'" —“Free speech curtailed in Aung San Suu Ky’s Myanmar as prosecutions soar,” The Guardian, January 8, 2017

That time you
lay, wine-numbed, upon the bench
cling-wrapped like luncheon meat, and branded
yourself ‘Slut’ in another language
(accidentally, you didn’t discover until that
night out in Roppongi)

When you ran outside and cried
into the sun. And
That friend had
her twin’s names tattooed
on her wrist, and tattooed
Angel wings around
the name of the one
who first learned to Fly.

When That razor
was like a river in your hand
when you dug deep so they would see,
that being is just a hair’s breadth. When you carve
Freedom, and it’s just a word written in another language, just
thousands of tiny pin pricks that span the world. Like
light seen from space, if you see his back it’s
golden with his scars. I want to


my fingers along them with the lightest touch,
connect them like humanitarian corridors. Because you can’t
lose those scars. But That leopard
could change its spots just by dreaming it can Fly, so

turn the page quietly, and I’ll write you a poem
in a place where no-one will ever read it.

Jo-Ella Sarich lives in Petone, New Zealand beside the beautiful Wellington harbour. She has worked as a lawyer for a number of years, and has a husband and two small girls. She has recently started writing again in her spare time. Her poetry has appeared in Tuck Magazine and The Galway Review, and will be appearing in the upcoming Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017.