Poetry: Achingliu Kamei

Achingliu Kamei

The slowly evaporating dew on the yam leaves
Morning breeze awakens between the twin peaks 
The twilight flute floating in the mist
She walks to the river, warm thoughts of her lover
In the morning cool
She softly hums, stepping in rhythm to the music
Her hair freely flowing. Witnessed by none
Judged by none, freedom in the early mist
Enjoying the solitude, her thoughts her own
She blushed before the sunrise.
Her delicate waist made more so by hunger
Arms slim and firm as the bamboos
The music her food and drink, interspersed with wild honey
Her lover willing to scale the cliffs
To see the sparkle of delight in her eyes.
Looking at the image in the pond
She too sees through her lover’s gaze
Heaving breasts as she fills her vessels
Crystal clear water that once holds the sky
The shadow blown away by the music of the twilight flute


I am just a woman
Fire burning in my eyes
Reflection from the hearth

I am just a woman
I see beyond my veil
The expression on an angry tide

I am just a woman
My place between
The darkness and light

I am just a woman
My womb holds humanity
My only authority.


First thing people ask me 
When introduced to
Where do you come from?
Are you Chinese? Are you Japanese? 
Where are you originally from?
Poking and probing.

In the ‘mainland’
My mother tongue in exile, my name in exile
My looks alien. My Hindi Chinese to them.
My foodways a taboo
Different shades of meaning to words
Indian and an alien in India.

The freshly turned earth’s perfume
Permeated the autumn air
Days of rain and storm are ending
Fearful journey almost at an end

The dew drops and a bit of sun
Remained in the peach’s core
Residue of the pink of early morning
Before the great diaspora

Flushed cheeks of a lover
Sweet honey, beautiful flower of spring
Fevered foreheads of ancients
Yearnings of mothers

Lazy afternoon in the garden
Basket full of peaches, white flowers atop 
End of yet another summer
The dream of youth

Laughter of toddlers, continuation of life
Before the organic gave way 
A blur-time bends, petrification
End of Peach, future time.


The Sound of a bugle in the early dawn
Always made me cry 
This season, extra rainy, my Aunt
With cancer, fighting her own battle
The bright dahlias swaying in the breeze
Its neck almost breaking.

The bugle sound moves me to tears.
The sound travelled far
Carried by the wind down hill
The muddy path slippery, life accelerated 
Mother’s mahogany tree looking out
The quiet iris a silent witness.

The clarion call- Rise up, Rise up. The cicadas trilling,
Its exquisite nature. The last spark before its end
I envisioned my world- to be the bravest
In the face of what is to come. 

Achingliu Kamei is a short story writer and poet. Born and brought up in the vast open hills of the North East, she has great respect for nature. She loves to pen down her day to day life in the form of Haiku or a short story. Some of her haiku appeared in Caravan and other places.  Her keen interest for literature and art keeps her engaged in writing despite her busy schedule as a teacher. She is also an ultra-runner. She lives in Delhi, India with her husband, two daughters and a cat named Haru. 

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