Even the street lamps are tired,
Feebly blinking their eyes to stay awake.
Over the clodded brick streets,
They walk to their night-shifts;
They've just put their thumb-sucking toddlers
In cots at the daycare center;
Just unwillingly flung on their heavy uniforms
After folding away their light skirts;
Steamed ready the buns and dumplings
For their families' meals tomorrow;
Just taken leave of the old ones' sickbeds
And counted the countless ration coupons for rice, oil…
Everyone is sound asleep.
But they walk on, rubbing their sleepy eyes,
Cursing the evening breeze that refuses to sing.
Even the breeze is asleep,
Only a few weary stars are left in the sky.
And on the streets trudged smooth by feet,
They walk to their night-shifts,
They've just parted from the white swan
Gliding with such grace in the play;
Just solved a few equations bending
Just locked carefully away their sons' diplomas
In the newly acquired dresser;
Just blushed a response to that strange
Annoying enquiry on the cool steps…
Everything is stilled, profoundly still.
But they merrily walk together,
Embarking on a journey between today and tomorrow.
And I am one of them,
The curly-haired girl who believes men can fly;
I am one of them,
The one mother who tells stories about mermaids,
I am that one magical lantern
Forever elusive, forever aflame.
I'm the nightingale guarding the night passage,
Visible only to them.
All my songs are sung for them,
All my poems are written, entirely