Off the second floor balcony of a fire-ridden Xinjiang apartment building, mid-jump
And in the morning, moths tugged at our ironclad windows. You spoke quietly about how good it was, this life, as the rust on your wheelchair thrashed my palms.
I walked to the stairwell and I saw the baby, a soft yolk dangling from cobwebs in the ceiling. That’s how I knew I was dreaming.
Three pieces of lettuce sat in the rice cooker, steam rising to thread your crow-thin hair, like pink fingers. When you said war flocks of wild geese set flight in your eyes, dove through your vintage fog.
The rotten blankets from underneath my bed gnawed at the heat, sloshing like egg-white. You said sometimes your stomach felt hollow, and it was sickening sometimes, like you were the pink son you couldn’t let out.
At the bottom of the stairs, my dangling brother asks, couldn’t, or wouldn’t?
Another featherlight winter slipped down the hollow between mute boughs and fell to the ground, dead. Breathe in my ear, fly, fool.
– In Xinjiang, a building under quarantine policies was left to burn as authorities failed to reach incapacitated individuals in time. The One-Child Policy, enforced in China from 1980 up until 2015, mandated that all family units produce only one child. All other offspring were to be aborted.
-- BJ is a poet located in the East Coast. They enjoy filmmaking, hiking, and the work of Paul Celan and Wong Kar-Wai.