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Bridge Suicide Guard, Nanjing.

    The dream inherits me. A figure
   clutches the railing. I am running
   as fast as I can bolting though silt fog,
   no more man than colt, but never
   fast enough.
   I've lived my life on the Yangtze. Water
   still astonishes me. What water comes for me,
   is it water that will come? Every morning
   birds rise like brume & a sunless sun
   approaches through the murk, reaches me
   shy of an arm's length. Both of us
   harbor canaries inside our throats.
   As a village boy, I once watched a man jump
   & catch a wutong branch; a storm
   of water fell as he shook it off, running,
   his laughter summoning black kites from roost.
   It's difficult to see where the riverbank ends,
   where the river begins. The bridge stands
   twenty-four brides tall, its crest veiled by cirrus.
   Those who hurt themselves are never unkind.
   This is a place for bird-watching.
   Jumpers who miss the river are not counted.
   In Guangzhou, fences, guards, & flags failed;
   so they smeared butter on the steel.
   Which works as well as one would expect.
   When the girl stabbed me with a fork,
   it moved in me like the foot of a swan
   caught in mangrove. I thought of my daughter
   baptizing kittens in a well, the mother cat
   rescuing her children, one by one, by the nape of their necks.
   We swayed as a train passed. The girl whispered:
   It was like telling a story in which I didn't die
    
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Author:Nguyen, Diana Khoi
Publication:West Branch
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2014
Words:284
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