Xue Di

Seven Years

Walking on broken glass, living
in a city whose dialect I don’t speak

Feet infected, walking my own way
things persisting back of the flesh, bringing

thoughts to fruition. Making hands
hold back, there where the dark stands out. Speech

reaching to where we have not reached
Labor without end. Loneliness, then a precise

word. In a local crowd: stronger
than some new kind of language


Pure in spirit
two feet walk into society

Seeing life many-layered
seeing in silence

a celibate walk away
emaciated body

disturbed by pure thought
And one naturally precise utterance

makes experienced travelers happy
makes the ambient light grow weak

Lonely creator, in recollection, sees
standing on high the purveyor of words

Vegetarians, in a polished
abstract poem, see spirit

while a few others in the collective craziness
grumble. The communal life

early risers slurping deplorable coffee
under pressure to get the garbage organized

breathe in new viruses. No matter where
alarms scream everywhere

Seeing in the sky
that slack rope full of tight knots

turning bodily another direction, I sense
collapse, a mood of hopelessness