THE FOREST, by Novia Rika

I was born in the heart of teak forests
where most of the roads were gravelled
then spent my childhood only a sprint away
from the sea and the woods

My play yard was piles of logs
under the array of mahogany and saman trees
where I hunted anything from the trees;
Mahogany fruit shells with its bitter winged seeds,
monkey pods, or the honey-like frozen sap
that were dangling from the barks

I used to runaway from my mother’s nap time calling
Flee to the open hill above the sea surface
Then running down the hill to catch the ocean breeze
together with my closest friend, the youngest brother

Six years living on the seaside
we learn about how this world is continuously moving
like the tidal waves, the wandering wind,
the scattered sand on the beach, the fishermen’s boats
and also us, moving from town to town

Me and my brother are the youngest of the family
So we always attached more to our parents
As our three older siblings had been roaming into the adults world
Me and him, we always stayed together

Puberty is hard, and I was always alone in my mind
Questioning about nothing that I could understand
Maybe he felt the same way too, or even worse
He was like me, too quiet
He only had higher hopes of pride,
that maybe he buried them deep under his skin
like the piles of dry leaves that we were playing on our childhood forest

One day, all of sudden his mind became a cocoon
Swirling in webs of memories and reality
Slowly the innerlight on his eyes dimmed
Shadowed by his gibberish words,
or sometimes the unknown rage

His skin was changing, wrinkled and putrid
I’ve seen it dry and suppurate
His words were changing, it was like a prose
with disordered storyline and biased characters
And his eyes, his eyes were like a wild forest
Too deep to roam, too dense to scour
I could never understand what it feels like
Lost in a deep forest without a hand to hold

So it’s true, that life is always moving
I threw a goodbye to embrace a new life,
with heart as heavy as bogs
What sadden me was that he couldn’t be moving anymore
It crystallised in my mother’s tears, her biggest grief
Yet she offered the biggest love

Until the end of her life they had a special bond
As all of her children were clinging desperately
next to her hospital bed at 2 AM
Tens miles away he loitered around the gate
of his forced shelter, restlessly asking to go home
We didn’t even had a chance to tell him that his mother is dying
So maybe her soul visited him for the last time, her long lost son

Now I don’t know how to bring his soul back
My brother, my closest friend back then
It is the second year without my mother
And it has been years without him
Still, we’re living in the forest
Different from another



Novia Rika Perwitasari. An Indonesian poetess. She has won first prize at several Indonesia poetry competitions. She is the founder of Poetry Prairie website, Indonesian delegate at 19th World Festival of Youth & Students in Russia. Her poems have been published in various poetry anthologies in Indonesia, and her English poems also published in international platforms such as Dying Dahlia Review, Optimum Zine, Poetry Kit and “Haiku Masters” by NHK TV Japan. She also took part on translation project of literature works by Intersastra Publisher.

Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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