This morning, little brother said he was off

To school. He came back this afternoon.

In pieces. Not even his school bag was with him.

He was carried home by a Samaritan.

How broken down little brother was!

His head and entrails in one plastic bag. The rest in another.

Those black bin bags! The type we

Use in our town. We checked his body parts. One of his

Legs and his two fingers weren’t there. There was

A ring mark on his left middle finger. The ring was missing.

I was very upset.

No, not about little brother’s death. I was upset with

Mom’s incessant weeping. Her eye water annoyed me.

She wept the same way when dad died. I was very annoyed

That time too. This sort of things happens in our region everyday.

There’s no point in declaring today special. I told that

To mom. Mom said, ‘‘You will go to hell.’’

So what? Here and now, worse than hell.

Take this. For years, I’ve been with

A man who often sucks me for blood.

If you ask me about my bruises, you will have to

Smell my sweat. Or maybe I will let you have a taste

Of my blood? There’s no water and blood inside me.

My body is filled with semen.

Sometimes mom came up with,

‘‘My husband no longer loves me. You are his love now.’’
That’s true.

Her husband can hardly wait for my menses to stop.

I have two kids now. The second one is still in my tummy.

Mom also said,

‘‘You are a slut. That’ why you have to go through all this.’’
What can I say? Each time I go to bed, I ask myself,

‘‘Is this place hell or human?’’

Whenever mom’s husband crawls into my bed, it’s hell for sure.
With her arms folded, mom simply let it all happen.

Now mom is weeping over her son’s death.

I will watch her, with my arms folded.

Little brother had stepped on a landmine. Why wasn’t the foot that

Stepped on the mine my own?

I always think about that when I walk.

If there’s a mine in my way, I would go step on it.

Now I have to go to school. To learn A, B, C.

When you learn to write your own name

You can at least sign your kids off at an orphanage.

No way I will leave my kids with mom.

The person I trust the least in this whole world is


Ne Myo Set Lu

Translated from the Burmese by ko ko thett