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A man from the phone company
hoists his great blue handset,
settling on the savage rhythms
it will accentuate for him.
I watch because I cannot listen.
In town, you’re buying something
you found last week, not hidden
in the library, as I’ve told him.
While he works, I see your paperwhite,
down-penciled belly until
another stone-eyed blackbird
has a go at our leafless grapes,
nearly as dark as it by now.
The man has taken no notice.
My heart goes out to hands like
his, like paws. I need their pity.
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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.