We told jokes when the dust cloud swept in,
nodding at the punch lines. Little was left

to do: the silverware was cleaned, the furniture arranged,
our appetites excised from our bodies.

Ladies continued to dance in the slackened lampglow,
their silhouettes plaiting a scene from a lost libretto,

and the older amongst us, who had stories,
told them like parables.

The next morning, after a night of wind,
the lid was lifted off Beijing.

Emerging unwrapped we noticed the blue
as if the gods of heaven and earth exchanged places.

We looked at our feet and wished upon them.
We walked forward with our reward, a blank

palette, for our faith. Our part is done.
Will our children paint our wishes or their own?

 

© ANTHONY TAO
PUBLISHED IN SPITTOON (ISSUE NO. 1, WINTER 2016)