Tatkala aku dan Mama
Duduk di balai-balai
Anak tetangga, lelaki pegawai pabrik
Melintas sambil merunduk bebatuan.
Necis dan tampan.
Sewaktu lelaki itu terus berjalan
Ke balik punggungnya, Mama memandang
Lelaki dengan rambut klimis;
berwibawa dan berkharisma.
Kita, manusia-manusia yang mampu memahami
Kalau kita mau belajar mendengar isyarat yang lewat.
Di dalam kalimat kagumnya, aku menangkap sebuah makna:
Aku bergeming. Betapa kata-kata tengah bergumul di dada.
Namun tak mau aku menyanggah.
Mama tak tahu,
Bagiku rambut adalah mahkota
Akankah kelak ia mafhum?
Telah aku impikan rambut lurus dan panjang
Menjuntai sampai ke bokong
Sejak masih berada di sekolah dasar.
Di depan kaca, telah aku rawat tiap helainya
Dengan sisir dan jari-jari,
Memilinnya bagai nene-nene Kupang
Mencipta kain-kain tenun.
Beserta segala cinta.
Tiap rambut yang bakal tanggal di lantai
Akan aku kumpulkan,
Tolong susun ribuan rambut ini menjadi sebuah jalan
yang dapat menyeberangimu ke kota lain
demi mencari aku
ketika kelak kau merindukanku yang tak kuat lagi
tinggal di rumah ini.
© Rari Rahmat
MY HAIR, THE DIADEM
English translation by Norman Erikson Pasaribu
just before nightfall
as Mama and I
chatted on the bench
in the front yard,
the neighbor’s son,
a diligent worker
at a factory nearby, passed by our house,
his eyes glued to the ground,
looking so handsome and dapper.
Mama just stared
as the boy walked away.
Look at his hair, short and shining.
How it gleams and radiates charisma.
So I look at us: the smart animals who can go deeper
whenever we decide to read the signs.
I found a letter well-kept
behind the lines of her praise:
Cut your hair.
And I froze. Within, I was a storm of words.
But I was too tired to talk back.
Mama just refused to see
this black hair is my diadem.
And will she ever?
For too long I’ve dreamed of straight, long hair
Stretching from head to back
Dreamed it since the first grade
And in front of the mirror, now, I nurse
every single strand of them
with my comb-like fingers
Entwining them as if I am a Flores grandma
with her woven cloth.
Doing it with the purest love.
And when they fall, and they will,
I will pick up every single strand
from the floor, gathering them
as if my life depends on it
and send the box to you:
Will you help me braid these into a street
that might help you cross over to my city
when you finally miss me
when you’re ready to get me
out of this house
I can no longer live in.
© Rari Rahmat
English translation © Norman Erikson Pasaribu
Rari Rahmat is a poet and a writer. Her favorite book is Perahu Kertas by Dee Lestari. Rari wants herself to be considered a woman, regardless of her physical appearance. She wants this world to be fair and equal for trans women. And she hopes that her writing can open minds.
Norman Erikson Pasaribu is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, and literary translator. He was born in Jakarta, 1990. His collection of stories, Hanya Kamu yang Tahu Berapa Lama Lagi Aku Harus Menunggu, came out in 2014 and was shortlisted for Khatulistiwa Literary Award. One story was included in Best Kompas Stories 2012. His collection of poems, Sergius Mencari Bacchus, won first prize at the Jakarta Arts Council poetry manuscript competition 2015 and was a finalist of Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in Asymptote, Modern Poetry in Translation, Asia Literary Review, and Cordite Poetry Review. He is based in Jakarta.
Cindy Saja is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. Her works are mostly about social issues in Indonesian society. She has been drawing since childhood, and after completing her fine arts degree in 2011 she started working as an illustrator. She has collaborated with writers and artists such as Gouri Mirpuri, Butet Manurung, Erikar Lebang, Rene Suhardono, Rani Pramesti, and many more. Currently, Cindy is freelancing at the book publisher Kompas, and is preparing a personal project.
Poetry-writing mentor: Khairani Barokka