Magic of the Morning Star

Bright flecks in stony depths

The Tide leaves watery footprints

Broken coral

Cracked fruit of the mandong

Brilliant green see-grass

Trembling seaweed hair.

A half moon becomes a blue jellyfish

Ist sword of love revealing a honeyed rip

Shy and naked.

The lingam – firm, rigid,

flying like a holy banner.

He inhales the womb’s fragrance

And thus

Leaves the last embers of lust at stone lips.

The night is full of stars and

The wind no longer blusters.

From the worar and wawaru trees is lulled.

The shore so desolate

As quiet as the song of Ai-meng,

as sad as the crab-warrior Anggarariti

digging a living grave

fashioning a trap

of foamy water,

stinging his lips at every mouthful.

His breath chases the cloud chariots

As he stretches himself gracefully,

and creeps up the hill

toward the top of the smoldering night.

There he looks back over his shoulder,


scratching till bleeding

blood trickles into a million tattooed holes

where he brushes and strokes the ocean´s hair

lulled and arriving,

swept away too soon.

John Waromi

Translated from the Bahasa Indonesia by Sarita Newson

Mandong – a species of seaweed used to make traditional fishing nets
Worar – Ink Fruit Tree
Wawaru – Beach Hibiscus Tree