All new images leave your thinking askew.
And wouldn’t you know—you wouldn’t
recognize these streets even if they translated you
phoneme by phoneme.
If feeling comes, some form of modern distance will clot it.
In your alogical ways, you make a foolish bargain:
you ask to be a native again—naïve
as you are, with steadfast eyes.
Some knavery in desire, some echo.
What more is there to say about the way
this homeland’s forehead degrades?
All stitching of narrative alienates.
Murky grows the sky in Brooklyn, upward from the night’s stiff stem.
But not so in Hefei!
In Hefei, darkness
emerges in rough spots
chafed from the back of street noise.
Dusk’s wide mouth
muffles the city statues
This parsimony of detail
so the still image will last
Incursion of the city’s lymph
pushing against your tissues
Crust cut off economically
from the harbor
Each life, rustling the folds of the year
Time is scented differently here
Some futures take root.
Bulldozers masticating between two city blocks
where the lining of a luxury high-rise thickens.
Aphasia runs through you.
Lapping at the sight of other people:
the mind feeds on synonyms, approximations.
Gray slosh of the Huangpu, against chrome and metal splinter.
Stitches in the phosphorescing air.
But the old city slides out of one alley. Not just from the archi-
tecture, but the way of speaking, one syllable under another. The
touching of speech, the air ionized, some keys left at the doorway
where a mourning dove offers seasoned murmurs. From pairs of
wet eyes, and from street names, which bear the mark of a past
Slip out and the anesthesia rubs down the nostrils.
Flavors of knowing coming off bodies moving irrationally on the