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Then, every letter opened was an oyster
Of possible bad news, pried apart to reveal
The imperfect probable pearl of your death.
Then, urgent messages still affrighted me, sharp
Noises caused the birds not yet in flight to fly.
Then, this was the life of you.
All your molecules
Gathered for your dying off
Like mollusks clinging to a great ship’s hull.
Ceremony of wounds, tinned,
Tiny swaddled starlings soaked in brine.
A bird, singing in his wicker cage, winds down.
Now, a trestle table lined with wooden platters
Neat with feathered wings of quail tucked-in.
Until you sever the thing, from self, it feels.
Thereafter it belongs to none.
You have nothing to be afraid of, anymore.
Outside Prague, I find you warm
Among the million small gold bees set loose
In April’s onion snow, quietly
Quietly, would you sing this back to me, out loud?
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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.