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I was handled by the handler’s handler
someone (I know who) had sent me to.
A mountain zephyr blew the sunlight cold.
I read the little village paper backwards
and nibbled at my ham. Coffee is birth.
I was surprised to see how things had changed
since I first dreamed I came here long ago.
The villagers were lobbying new plans,
who had been immigrants before the snow.
I was among the first to try the new
cuisine, the classless restaurant.
In the best house I recognized my host,
and he who had fulfilled a noble life
exhibited no need for conversation.
Then I was swept up in the exultation
of thousands of revelers’ descent to hell.
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But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.
Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.