rises, pressing the beijing
dusk landscape—barren in comparison. the sun
scatters would-be crows with promises
of olympic draught. the daughter
of a rice farmer sells
dried chinese gooseberries
glazed with cherry blossom
honey. she thinks about stealing
a few because business is
always slow. certain days, soldiers
driving through rural hubei
stop and pester the girl for free
tastes. their guns waive all right
to objection. her father,
the rice farmer, owns property
that comprises the periphery of
the latest stage of building. it
is the ultimate stage
the soldiers taunt. the daughter
is unlike her father in that
she does not cry each night about
the inevitable. she embraces it like
a custom-made noose, crafted
of the softest fibers. the soldiers
chew through seized fruit,
gawking in the kicked up dust
from government-issued tires.
come the year of the dragon, the valley
will become the country’s most
recent atlantis. she awaits the day,
a prisoner who realizes escape
is a step off a stool to gravity.

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