Impossibly still except for the bombing,
birdcalls and bombing, Tingri Plain rises
for another day where sun means butter.
A conclave of starlings whirls and bleats out
electronic game noise. Sniping
and mobbing, they circle above sheep
planning politics of hit and run. The Chinese
part of town is walled. The loudspeaker shouts
its message to the rest with the tinny garble
of all grand schemes. Good Morning Tibetans
we own your lives, the radio broadcast cackles
distorted and true. The try of local drivers
to accelerate their yaks over mountains
of indifference—Cho Oyo, Chomolungma,
the government—is not for show but tells:
they don’t have a chance. Two skinny ponies,
barely stomping grain from chaff, spinning circles
over crumbling ground, are the singing tune.
Nowhere to go but around. Naked girls
wear spoons around their necks meaning nothing.
Truckers wear white gloves to better inspect
the customs they’ve run over. Crunched metal
on gravel running fake Buddha sculptures
from Kathmandu to Lhasa or runny-nosed
children reaching out for candy: pick your
prayer flag, name your choice. When mines are dug
and shells are shot, the charges buried into
hills will be sharper than skin or mind. The damage
done will be recorded at the better
universities and the birds won’t care.