Vegetarian/Rage Native

this is about a non-medicinal plant
the kind that takes root from its own leaves
the kind that goes for a walk
it catches insects for meals
but is as lazy as a corpse to make its own food
oversensitive, a little wind is the end of the world for it
it shrinks when it’s touched by a tiny bit of rainwater
it is the kind of shrub that hardly survives after breaking through the soil
it never stores a sufficient amount of water
and is native to a habitat where everything dies young
it is forced to endure the scorching sun
people plant it in a row to make a fence
people take out their pocket knives
and decorate its flowers with scratch marks
it turns into a seed before it could bear new leaves
the husk of the seed gets too thick and covers the meat inside
layers upon layers upon layers upon layers
what’s between beautiful skin is inedible
the inside is always subordinate to the alluring outside
and is portrayed as a bad example in kids’ bedtime stories
they say it’s all juice and no smell birds and animals shun it
rejected at the stage of a mere seed
it grows to become a solitary tree dried up in a field
its fruit falling off way before ripening
villagers take the fruit to eat and the branches to make a fire
I look it up in calendars and find it’s also been used to make weapons
bamboo has always been a marginalized species

Nyan Lynn
Translated from the Burmese by Maung Day