2022 Gulf Coast Prize in Poetry:
Dear Unborn Moonbug,

Samyak Shertok

What could not be written, Maya, was foretold in Tamang.
The scroll is blank just as the sky is empty: behold in Tamang!

The first Tamang word I learned to speak:                      .
Some nights I repeat                      … a blindfold—in Tamang.  

Orphaned mother. Star-threshed hand. Phantom ink I drink. 
Ta-Mang: Horse-Ghost. I did not say the horse was dead in Tamang. 

The horse, fleeing the arrowheads, became thirsty. The horse, feeling 
the fire, became the river. We drank her cold cold in Tamang.

“ : the womb not tear to, golden hooves the foal with is born…” This dream
of the Ghost Translator, bought in jackal howls, sold in Tamang.

Hour of the black danphe. Subzero. We left with only a fistful
of the hearth-ash and a persimmon halved then wholed in Tamang. 

A letter to the letter that is only mouth. To read it, swallow the sky,                      
then.                       : Little Ghost, ghosts never get old in Tamang.

You keep asking me what our ancestral name means. Listen. In tongue
means “Double-Born," X means "Unburnt Gold” in Tamang. 

after Agha Shahid Ali