china witness

(* a poem for XinranCorporate Design)

she paints the nails pink
leaves one bright red
so all the terra cotta ladies must dissolve
enough to cluck at the clumsy finish
and take her small hand in theirs
a place where they will
recognize a child
denied the privilege
of being left behind with grandparents
as these soldiers climbed out
of the cultural trenches;
stone hands that cry
beneath the defiant art of smoothing the skin
cutting the cuticles and keeping in the lines
saying, family is our privacy
and we need you to know why

© lyw