Watching the Parents Speak of Tiananmen in the Side Room

Every year through the mist and Mao-tai

the men rasp in hooded sinister tongues.

The lazy Susan slows, a reprimand.

Eyes lingering, quiet breaths still in lungs.

I was there, he echoes into his glass,

I tasted the terror. I felt the screams.

Outside: the rickshaws ba-dum across the

cobblestone; with spite, baozi slowly steam.

Outside: a child shrieks, and they cease breath,

because thirty years is still too soon. Less

men than students, they know the choking

of a tie, protests stifled. Confucius

said, Let your thoughts be unswerving. And they

ask, are we not men? Are we undeserving?

This poem is about: 
My family


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