a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
and rubs her body with wet grasses.
she is taught, she learns
a scrubbing of detritus realm
from our barrier of selves.
the bending of wills and heads
has not yet led to pesticidal lathering.
my grandfather has not yet installed
the house’s waterways, aqua as bended will
and not will to enter, to bathe in no more than.
these waters from which direction
erupts, the cause for no such
words as north south east west
used in our village before—
there is only upstream, downstream.
this couplet all the world needs to know
of divining place and ways within it:
where to wash in a known rush of sluice,
what part of the earth to bring
to skins. how to gentle a renewal,
how to be smallness and cold, to begin.
Khairani Barokka is a disabled Minang-Javanese writer, editor, and artist from Jakarta, now based in London. Among Okka’s honours, she was a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change, an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow, an Artforum Must-See, and Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence. Modern Poetry in Translation‘s incoming Editor, she has been published in GRANTA, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Ambit, The Rialto, The New Inquiry, Artforum, and other journals and anthologies. Her books include Rope (Nine Arches, 2017), Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis, 2016), co-edited volume Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches, 2017), and recent poetry collection Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches, 2021), shortlisted for the Barbellion Prize.