What does it mean for me to stand, feet slightly sloped,
on these rolling hills outside Tashkent? I come
out here, day after day, to count horses. Sometimes, there were
two, and most days when mist blinds the April sun, not
even one shows up. Regardless, they outnumber
trees in the picture. All year long, no trees for creatures
like me to hide, to make home the patches of shadows they
create for me to live, to live with. There are no horses
today, and yet I hear them gallop the un-watered grasslands
from a distance. This life of sun and land is empty.
The un-pictured barn is empty too. The small unhidden
house I refuse to see in the back has never been
this empty. Somewhere inside, the stretch of space of a tin can
I used to catch the sound of the lone wind is empty
as well. All the while, I slip to sleep standing mid-day
and never feel my skin burn, my wool sweater a bit damp
from the cold. I am just here, without an eye for
fullness, without any memory of what wants to be missed.
Ian writes from Cateel, Davao Oriental. He has an MA in Political Science from Central European University in Vienna and Budapest. Some of his works appeared in Dagmay, New Contrast and Voice & Verse.