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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Language of Laughs

I woke up this morning at 5:15,

my homestay mom knocking at my door,

saying, “Ismriti!!” and bringing me milk tea.

“Hajur!” I replied and my feet touched the floor and I opened the door.


She motioned for

me to wash my hands and face,

then smiled and embraced

me and smiled again with her eyes just in case.


The air was cold but her smile was bold,

she smiled so warmly like milk tea can warm me.


Her language cant reach me

but her smile can teach me — transcending the mending of holes in our souls.


Later that day, at dinner we smiled,

she said something, maybe,”Your hair is so wild!”?

I don’t know but our eyes met in confusion

laughing in a language that is an illusion.


But smiles can fuel a body for miles,

and lessen the trash in all of the piles.


Walking through the rice fields in Panauti I passed,

a family in a shed making boxes very fast,

hundreds behind them,

they don’t know what they will contain,

but the kids were all laughing, not complaining,

but aiming to finish the box and begin on the next.


They continued to laugh as light bled from their heads,

but their blood was not red and instead

it was a color I’d never seen before.


Their parents had been making boxes all their lives,

and you might expect them to drown in strife,

but they stayed the the shed and valued theirs,

and smiled while they worked,

and said “namaste”,

when I smiled,

and it happened again

the next day.