shanghai childshanghai childMore Like This
you take a bike
and rust it with raindrops and humid
summer mist, and give it scars that tell memories
of reckless crashes and bike rack disasters
and dark windy nights pedaling above
the lights of the city,& you take a child-
frayed at the edges,
forest-born and you give her a book of numbers
which she must memorize—if she is to be anything.
let her sing,
a poor bird lost in paradise.
you take a soul
and slip it into a body too small to contain it;
watch the way her eyes shine&
you'll know it wants to escape.
maybe you'll see her twirling in the yellow spotlight
as even the streets
grow quiet to watch her.
she hears them hum, and dances to their
concrete rhythm; sometimes
you can hear the ancient bones of bamboo forests
creaking to her footsteps too.
(you gave her HB pencils&
put her in a cage; she sits, flightless.
why tell her to fill in the bubbles on the sheet?
10 minutes left—watch her curl up and cry.
you realize you should have given her wi