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?