Translated from the Burmese by ko ko thett
“Hole” is dedicated to Pan Ei Phyu, a fourteen-year-old girl who was killed by a bullet that came through the bamboo wall of her house in Meiktila, Myanmar on 3/27/2021.
There’s a hole the size of a pencil tip in the bamboo wall of our house. Not so long ago Little Daughter piled thanaka on her cheeks and disappeared into that hole. She is gone for a long time. Mother can’t wait any longer. She peeps into the hole and finds herself looking down a gun muzzle. In the background is a gala dinner, where Myanmar in blood and gore is chopped up and served. At the top of the grand table sits the pagoda donor, sipping a glass of Little Daughter’s blood. The dead wail in the darkness outside. Mother passes out, repeating My Little Daughter, my Little Daughter! Father gets curious and looks into the hole. Family members take turns peeping into that hole. Today each and every person in this country has a tiny hole as big as a pencil tip in their chest.
Translator’s note: “Pagoda donor” is my translation for someone who builds a pagoda. Pagodas are costly projects, both to build and maintain. Only Burmese monarchs and queens in the past, and Burmese generals and extremely wealthy people in present-day Myanmar, can afford a pagoda.