in order to make people
talk more with their eyes,
the government came up with a strict rule:
each person is only entitled to use
one hundred and thirty words a day. no more, no less.
if the phone rings, i put the receiver to my ear without saying ‘hello’.
at the restaurant, i point my finger to ‘noodles’ or ‘coto makassar’.
i train myself carefully to abide this rule and not to waste.
at midnight, i’ll call my lover in jakarta.
with pride i’ll tell her:
i have only used eighty-eight words today.
i’ve kept the rest for you.
when she fails to answer, i’d know for certain
that she has used up all her words.
so, very slowly i’ll whisper
“i love you” to her fourteen times.
afterwards, she and i will just sit there
holding a receiver to our ears,
quietly listening to each other’s breaths.
– diterjemahkan oleh Dian Harigelita dari puisi berjudul ‘Dunia yang Lengang’.