Ghazal of Winter

(for C)

Outside the homeless ask our help in all their languages;
The words disperse like witches’ ashes.

Your nights are filled with arsonists and lonely politicians,
Charred cities drowned in posters like curling skin.

What will survive of this is words and stardust.
At customs they found nothing hidden in the bronze god.

One night we read: ignorant ships kiss and pass;
The next: the collision and four girls lying under stateless waters.

Each morning brings two sets of dreams, the summoned and the
Every other space I learn to halve with you

As days slide away like streetcars
Along steel networks planned by neither of us.

by Teng Qian Xi
from They hear salt crystallising (2010)