In between

By Tsering Wangmo Dhompa
Late for the feast. Let me guess, she said, everything worked
against you.

Some pulverize experiences at the pool. When the air slaps, they
flip into the water and speak of the excitations of distress. The
stratagems of delivering an annulled emotion. And how is one to
read a nod? Is a nod an exclamation?

Does one kiss after a nod?

A woman mutters something about the tea being too weak.
The walls threaten to expose us, shadows pinch as we mutter
jouissance, jouissance, while the university teacher said the use of
the word was a considerable error. A most lamentable error, given
half of us are illiterate and unattached. Think of words in their
system of birth. Now do you see, the teacher said. Ah, see.

Dogs were barking for no reason.

Some of us went to the ghats and watched the dead burn. Woman
in white wailed, her hair a dumb struck line against her rocking
spine. We look for other distractions in a place of death.

In the afternoon meanings are extolled.

We are asked to name our loves. I will not, he said, use common
language to talk of love. I will not jump into the substance
without reinforcement. He took his body to the breeze and
swayed till we begged him to stop. The rain subsided but we were
still wet.

Thousands have died in a nod.

Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, “In between” from Rules of the House. Copyright © 2003 by Tsering Wangmo Dhompa. Reprinted by permission of Apogee Press..

Source: Rules of the House (Apogee Press, 2003)

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Poet Tsering Wangmo Dhompa


Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics

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 Tsering Wangmo Dhompa


Poet Tsering Wangmo Dhompa’s parents fled Tibet in 1959. Raised by her mother in Tibetan communities in Dharamsala, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal, Dhompa earned a BA and an MA from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, an MA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks In Writing the Names (2000) and Recurring Gestures . . .

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics


Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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