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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015

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Sonam Chhoki & Mike Montreuil
Thimpu, Bhutan & Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


The Hour

He arrives at the Bo tree as agreed. The face of his wristwatch is cracked and vapoured in the river he has swum across. It's past the hour. She is late.

The rain puddle by the twisted roots of the Bo cools his sore feet. His eyes drift to a mangy herd of pigs rooting in the monsoon field. Shimmering in the noon heat the outline of a vehicle comes into view. The horizon is soon pocked by a row of trucks. They burn into clearer focus and he can smell the spew of fuel. The drone of the engines stalls abruptly a few yards from him.

Is he in the wrong place? The question is answered by a loud voice:

"You there! Put your hands on your head and come away from the tree."

He staggers to his feet as dusty boots converge towards him. Each figure is identical to the other—stout and dressed in fatigues. They bear no arms. With fists curled at the side they approach him. His face is mirrored in each pair of dark glasses that stare ahead.

Without a word he falls into line. They march in the June sun to the opening at the base of the mountain.

so many years ago
husband and wife
began their journey
a tree planted
with their newborn

Mother and father had warned me, “You become who you surround yourself with.” I would like to add, “if by choice.” But I do not have much more time for reflection. They have forced me to become one of his soldiers and new AK-47s have magically appeared. This man who is nothing but a lunatic driven by the sins of man. It is apparent, even with his sunglasses on.

At night, I sometimes think of my love. Yet, with each passing month, she begins to disappear from my mind. Perhaps it is the brutality and intimidation. Some here are turning into mindless animals. I can only hope she remembers me.

don’t ask me
who maps the road
that dreams take
I climb the high peaks
solely to dance with you

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