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Poems by Khando Langri

Khando Langri

Tibetan Love Story

Ours is a love that has undergone several displacements

It speaks in many tongues and moves through many limbs.

The Buddha of compassion has a thousand arms

So too do our ancestors who point to things

I seek to understand.

Every movement is an offering.

I know the shape of the things which hurt you

for they look so much like my own.

Tell me of their contours and I will hunt them in your stead

I am bow and quiver both.

Sometimes they ask of us: Where are you from?

As if home is somewhere you can trace on a map.

Some say the body is an ecosystem

I want to tell them there are so many animals in our hearts

so many birds that the soldiers could not kill,

Bodies of water and fire;

Our skin is geographic.

I know that to pitch a tent together is an act of love,

A moment many past lives in the making.

Can you feel my rivers calling to yours,

see how perfectly they move together?

Every embrace is a return.

Tibetan Creation Story

Before they hollowed out mountains

and grasslands became sand

Home was an ocean

In a cave an ogress and a monkey

Found beauty in each other’s shape

Every touch is a surrender

To the possibility of change

In time, all beings lose their tails

What matters is

not form but love.

Protest Song


You speak with the disquiet that animates you always

Except for today you do it in the street.

You learnt this song at a young age;

you sing it better than your own mother tongue.

Stop the killing (in Tibet)

Stop the genocide (in Tibet)

We remind them of where we are from

(and perhaps ourselves as well)

What is a place if not a promise?


was a country is a nation is home is all around me

is absent

I think in visas and fears of dying elsewhere

How to constitute ourselves in the fracture?

We take stock of the bodies who are still amongst us (quickly though, there is a gap in the march ahead)

In time the quiet between chants makes space for rest, sometimes we stumble over words and laugh at the absurdity of it all

There is ceremony in movement between embassies and public squares

Grandmothers weep (whole worlds move amongst us)

All the while the children roam with the joy of being again and again and again

amidst the ruins they made home.

The fish know two oceans

(for Khawa Nyingchak)

The sky so blue I could lose myself

within its depths; its open-endedness

So opposite from the fracture of barb-wired grasslands.

I am not fooled by the visible

Here, the land itself is restless

(Every stone has a spirit)

(Every mountain has a name)

Tell me, pala, what is that which is immovable across lifetimes?

The earth beneath my fingers feels so heavy.

I look to where the fish are dancing

Oh, how they shimmer,

How they move with the lightness of being.


About the poet:

Khando Langri is a disabled Tibetan of mixed heritage who is from Tio'tia:ke (Montreal). She loves writing on the textures that animate bhoepay life. Currently, she is writing a dissertation on Tibetan Sign Language and the landscapes that inform it.


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