Not in the Area

Ma Kyay | ယခုဆောင်းပါးကို မြန်မာဘာသာဖြင့် ဖတ်ရှုရန် ဤနေရာတွင် နှိပ်ပါ

Cite as: 
Ma Kyay. (2023). Not in the Area. Independent Journal of Burmese Scholarship, 4(1).

At Mya Kwa Nyo in Yangon,
While we were talking over each other,
Food got finished
And the drinks got cold.
Those were the days
When we forgot to savor them.

Those memories have gone
Beyond belief.
Now that
She has been eating
Tubers and bulbs
Day in and day out,
She says she craves for instant noodle
Oh little sis,
My dear little sis,
An ethnic girl
With the same heart
On the same path.

Just to hear her sound…
“Gonna call you when I get to somewhere with mobile connectivity in haste,” she says.1
I couldn’t ask
How she was doing
Under the rain
Amidst the mountains and the forests
Of a different kind from Inya2 rain.
Little sister with a poor kidney
With a wound on the leg,
With pain on the back,
Without proper medical care,
Without proper nutrition.

I cannot imagine
How hard she has been toiling.
The moment she says
“I wanna see Mom”
All of a sudden,
I was taken aback.
Just as I was shaking,
Lost for words,
“But it ain’t easy to meet her, big sis.”
What I couldn’t say,
She spoke it herself.

My sister is that kind of a sister.
“Big sis, you mustn’t cry,” she says laughingly.
And the connection dropped.
How I was ashamed
Of the tears which flowed Of their own accord.


1 The title of this poem is a reference to the line, “The number you have dialled is not in the service area”. After the military started brutally assaulting and killing peaceful protesters, many pro-democracy activists and others fled to remote liberated areas of the country where there is less mobile network coverage.
2 Inya Lake, the largest lake in Yangon and a popular recreational area, is often the object of great artistic romanticization.